CHATSWORTH, Ga. -- Freshmen aren't supposed to get the ball in the waning seconds of a tied basketball game, but that's just where Ringgold's Kile Sholl found himself at the end of Monday night's Region 7-AAA tournament opener against Gilmer County.
Sholl took a pass from senior Nick Scott with four seconds to play and hit a running one-hander from five feet as the Tigers completed a furious rally, 63-61, to advance to Wednesday's quarterfinal against subregion B top seed Allatoona.
Ringgold (20-6) trailed by eight points in the final quarter and by five with 1:35 to play but scored the final seven points.
"We didn't shoot the ball well tonight and we didn't execute well, and when we did we couldn't make a shot," Ringgold coach Greg Elkins said. "On top of that, we were giving them far too many good looks. They killed us on the boards as well. But you know what, good teams find a way to win, and we did somehow."
The Bobcats (12-13) used a 22-12 rebounding edge in the first half to build a 29-24 halftime lead, a margin that grew to 45-35 with two minutes to play in the third period on Ben Cole's three-point play. Ringgold finally showed some urgency, though, ending the period on a 7-2 run, with Sholl scoring the last two baskets.
Scott, who struggled with his outside shot the first three quarters, scored the first six Ringgold points of the final period to cut the lead to two, but each time the Tigers got close, the Bobcats answered. Ryan Lowery scored six consecutive points, including a breakaway dunk, and Austin White hit a 2-pointer to push the lead to five with 1:35 to play.
Matthew Crownover's putback ignited the closing rally, which also featured two steals and Scott's tying 3-pointer -- his first 3 of the game, in nine tries -- with 35 seconds to play. A Gilmer miss from the lane set Ringgold up with the chance to win it, and Elkins called the same play that had resulted in Scott's 3-pointer, though the coach believed Gilmer would be ready for it.
"We ran our high-stagger screen for Nick, but we thought they would cheat on it," Elkins said. "Nick saw Kile go off that screen and he got it to him and Kile took it strong. That's a heck of a shot for a freshman."
Sholl, who downplayed his big shot, looked more relieved than ecstatic after the game.
"When Nick went off the screen, I saw Steven's [Williams] man go with him and the lane opened up, and I just took it and put it up and it went in," Sholl said. "I didn't have time to think about it. It was just a reaction."
Scott topped the Tigers with 22 points, 16 coming in the second half, while Adam Weldon added 15 and Sholl and Crownover had 10 each. Joe Bob Charles led Gilmer with 16 points, followed by Lowery and Conner Webber with 12 each.
In the other boys' opening-round games, Cedartown ended Heritage's season, 47-42; Ridgeland escaped host Murray County, 61-57; and Pickens County eliminated Southeast Whitfield, 77-56.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...