DACULA - The Alcovy boys saw their chance of advancing to the Class AAAA state tournament for a second straight year fall to pieces Thursday night in the form of a fourth quarter collapse.
Leading 42-30 as the fourth quarter began, the Tigers were outscored 28-13 in the final period and fell to Winder-Barrow 58-55 in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-AAAA tournament at Dacula High School.
"It was probably the worst fourth quarter we've played all year," said Alcovy coach Eugene Brown. "We did exactly what we said we wouldn't do, which was trying to hold on to the lead instead of being aggressive. We said we weren't going to do that after one of the timeouts. I even told them that a couple of teams in this tournament had already lost like that. We were trying to hold on to the lead and playing not to lose."
Both teams had a fast start in the opening quarter as they battled to a 17-17 tie by the end of the period.
Alcovy's Worrel Clahar, like he's done so many times for his team this year, came out on fire from the start.
Clahar scored 13 of his team's 17 points in the first quarter and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
Alcovy's defense turned up the heat in the second quarter, limiting the Bulldoggs to just five points. The Tigers led 31-22 at the break.
The third quarter featured much of the same as the Tigers went up by double digits and stayed there until the start of the fourth quarter.
But in the fourth quarter, Alcovy couldn't seem to find the intensity it played with the first three peroids, and the game was soon knotted at 51 with with 2:50 left.
The Bulldoggs were scoring from the floor and hitting their free throws, and with 40 seconds left, they led 56-52.
After Winder-Barrow turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound pass, the Tigers had a glimpse of greatness when Clahar hit an acrobatic layup and drew the foul. He completed the traditional three-point play to make it a one-point game.
Alcovy got the ball back with 20 seconds left, but the Tigers were forced to call a timeout with 6.3 seconds left after not being able to get off a solid shot.
Then, the worst possible thing happened.
The Bulldoggs' Jodd Maxey stole the inbound pass, dribbled down the court and dunked it home for the win.
Winder-Barrow had three players in double figures. Marquavious Barnes and Shun Thurmond scored 16, while Maxey added 13.
Alcovy was led by Clahar, who scored a game-high 24 points. Cody Edwards added 10.
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.