Mt. Hermon holds off late rally for win

Published 4:21 am Friday, December 22, 2017

Mt. Hermon took a 15-point lead into halftime and led by 14 points through three quarters, but Varnado came back and the Yellow Jackets held off the run and won, 72-59, Tuesday night at VHS.

The Yellow Jackets had a 37-22 lead at the break and were up 48-34 through the third period.

Varnado trimmed the lead to 48-40 in the fourth quarter and then got possession down eight. The Wildcats had a chance to draw closer, but missed a 3-pointer and then a layup on consecutive possessions that would have closed the gap to three had the shots gone in.

After the missed layup, Ike Tate, who had 19 points, knocked a big 3-pointer to make it a 51-40 game with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter.

“It was big,” Mt. Hermon coach B. Alford said. “You know, teams kind of get in that comfort zone and when you get it down to the next shot, it can be down to four-or-five points. I think it would have made like six-or-seven up and he hit that shot and they beat us back. It just seemed like everybody relaxed.”

Varnado’s James Williams hit a shot to make it 51-42 with 5:32 left.

The Wildcats got the deficit to 53-47, but Mt. Hermon’s Device Taylor hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three possessions at 55-47 and that was the Yellow Jackets’ smallest lead down the stretch in the 72-59 win.

Taylor scored a game-high 27 points and he knocked down a 3-pointer. He also dished out five assists.

“We played some good team basketball,” Taylor said. “I passed to my guards and they finished when we needed to. We played good defense when we needed to. We had stops when we needed stops.”

Tevin Williams recorded 11 points for Mt. Hermon.

George Smith posted 10 points.

Za’byeaus Holmes posted six and Jordan Smith recorded five in the win.

Armonte Kemp was Varnado’s leading scorer with 19 points, which included two 3-pointers.

Gary Crumedy recorded 15.

Williams posted 13.

Jadarrell Magee had five points which included a 3-pointer, while Ardarryl McGowan tallied four and Kim McGowan added three. Kim McGowan hit a 3-pointer.

Varnado coach Brett Cooper said he’s been preaching “consistency” to his team all year.

“We always either have a good first half or a good second half or a good first quarter or a good last quarter,” Cooper said. “We never have it all together. Once or twice, we’ve had it all year and we come out with a big win. But that’s what I’m telling them, consistency is the main thing. If we played like that the whole game, it could’ve been a different game.”