|Butler's Deandre Barton scored 27 points to lead Butler to a road win over rival Glenn Hills.|
After a beautiful inbounds post feed by Butler's Deandre Barton, Will Lambert drew a crowd and left a "bunny" of a layup for Drez McBride, who finished the final possession to knock off rival Glenn Hills 70-69 on the road in the first night of class AAAA, region 4 play. The Bulldogs, who entered the game ranked #7 in Georgia in their class, were led by Barton's 27 points, including 15 in the second half when Butler overcame a double digit Glenn Hills lead that peaked at 58-46 after three quarters of play.
Glenn Hills, the state's #4 ranked team entering the week, was led by 6'4" freshman John Whitehead and junior Eric Farmer, who each scored 14 points, and 6'8" junior Timmy Sellers, who dominated the space above the rim for stretches of play. It was Whitehead who calmly sank a pair of free throws with less than a minute remaining to give Glenn Hill a 69-68 advantage after being fouled shooting a three pointer.
McBride converted a put back with 6:03 remaining in the game, capping a blistering 13-2 Butler spurt at the beginning of the fourth quarter that cut the home team's lead to 1 at 60-59. The teams mostly traded baskets as the dueling crowds traded chants of scorn until Barton, Lambert, and McBride connected on the final play, which is my nomination for the "best (high school) play of the year so far" in area hoops.
Despite the insanely creative and adrenaline producing pregame introduction that Glenn Hills orchestrated for their home debut, the most telling item before Friday's AugBball Game of the Night tip off was my encounter with Barton right after I walked in the gym. The guard who has been more important to his team's success than any area player so far this season shook my hand firmly and said the following to me with his eyes wide and his voice loud:
"I am ready! I mean it. I'm ready."
Deandre was certainly ready. He proved it with the season's first month's best individual performance. And you could still see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice in the post game interview shown in the highlights at the top of the post.