Late arriving Spartans put early hurt on Eagles

The bus that was supposed to deliver the Glenn Hills boys basketball team to the Region 3-AAAA tournament Tuesday was instead idling at Josey, the host school. The mix-up caused the Spartans to arrive for their quarterfinal game against Josey almost 30 minutes after the scheduled start.

As the team waited for their ride, coach Travis McRae kept working his cell phone, worried the bus might never arrive. His players calmed him down.

"We'll be ready to play once we get there," they said -- and he knew his team would be focused.

Glenn Hills scored the first eight points and led after every quarter of its 61-57 win. The Spartans, state champions last year in Class AAA, clinched a berth in next week's state tournament with their victory, as did Evans, Cross Creek and Richmond Academy. Friday's semifinal schedule has Glenn Hills meeting Richmond Academy at 5:30 p.m. and Evans taking on Cross Creek at 8:30 p.m.

"We know we're playing next week, and that feels good," McRae said. "We have a lot of expectations here."

Terrell Fitts scored 20 points to lead the Spartans, half coming in the final quarter. Shawn Allen added 18 and four 3-pointers.

The fourth-seeded Spartans swept the season series from the Eagles, though the games were decided by a combined five points. Josey, trailing by 10 with 2:33 left, scored four buckets in less than a minute and twice came within three points in the last two minutes, before misfiring on offense.

Coach Shawn Parks said the delayed start didn't affect his team.

"We didn't make a big fuss about it," he said. "We were waiting, and it didn't hurt or help us. ... We didn't come out with the intensity I would have liked at the (beginning) of the game."

Senior Matthew Favors scored a game-high 27 points for Josey.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

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