Tifton Gazette

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March 3, 2014

Turner County Rebels return to state finals

ASHBURN —  The Turner County Rebels are back in the state championship. They defeated the Hawkinsville Red Devils Saturday in Savannah, 50-49 in the semifinals.

Turner trailed 13-11 after a quarter, but outscored the Devils 16-8 in the 2nd to take a 37-31 halftime edge. Antonio Graddic scored six points in the 2nd quarter and junior Quan Hillmon netted five.

The Rebels went ice cold in the 3rd quarter and Hawkinsville took advantage with a 16-1 run that gave them a lead of 37-28 in the closing minute of the quarter. In the closing seconds, DeAndre Pierce nailed a 3-pointer, Turner County’s only field goal of the quarter, and closed the deficit to 37-31. Pierce, who finished with 6 points, made his second 3-pointer at the start of the fourth and the Rebels were back in business, down 37-34.

Turner County took the lead at 40-38 in the 4th and Hillmon made 5-6 free throws to help hold off Hawkinsville’s late push.

Hawkinsville missed two shots in the last 12.5 seconds of the game to lose.  Hillmon finished with 11 points and was 9-12 from the foul line. Graddic scored 11 points and Rebel senior point guard Nate Martin finished with 9 points.

Turner will be facing the Wilkinson County Warriors in the championship game, which will be played Thursday at 4:45 p.m. at the Macon Centreplex.

The Rebels were last in the championship game in 2009, the second of back-to-back appearances. They lost in the finals to Hancock Central and Whitefield Academy, respectively. They won the state Class B championship in 1963.

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