By Michael Pope
JONESBORO, Ga. — The Mundy’s Mill Tigers took care of business Wednesday night as they took down the Bradwell Institute Tigers in the Sweet 16 round of the Class AAAAAA state basketball playoffs with a score of 65-58.
It was defense that helped Mundy’s Mill win this battle of the Tigers, while pushing their record to 23-7. The defensive clamp down held Bradwell Institute to 16 points in the first half, and Mundy’s Mill head coach Dwight Callaway didn’t hold back his pleasure with the defensive effort, even as he applauded the unrelenting play of Bradwell Institute as they never stopped fighting.
“We got the job done on defense, keeping their main scorers from doing a lot of damage to us. We take pride in our defense and how we frustrated them,” said Callaway. “If anything, I salute Bradwell. They had some guys that played very hard until the very end.”
Callaway said that they still have some steps to take forward with the offense as they get ready for the next round of the playoffs, but he was pleased with the progression his team made at the charity stripe.
“On offense, we still have some adjustments to make,” he said. “I did see a lot of promise tonight. We knocked down a lot of free throws, which has been our achilles heel for a while. Our seniors really stepped up tonight. They came in with a great game plan and stuck with it.”
The three seniors that Callaway called his big three — players who truly carried the Mundy’s Mill offense — were Jordan Black who poured in a game-high 20 points, Rayquan Brown who added 19 and Damarcus Fannin, who chipped in with 17.
This big three accounted for 54 of the team’s 65 points and seemed to really be the lifeblood of a squad that’s closing in on the school record for wins in a season (25). Black, who led all scorers, was a dominant force in the paint all night, but he credited the team’s great defensive play for the offensive success.
“It’s a big win. We came out and we had to put our foot on the gas,” Black said. “There was a lot of momentum on our side with the last W we had over Lee County. It was a hard game, but we gave it all we had and we’re going to the Elite Eight. Our defense mainly creates our offense. If we play hard defense, we get rewarded on offense.”
The 6-foot-7 Black’s dominance in the paint also led to multiple rim-rattling dunks that helped give his team a huge boost. One such dunk came at the very end of the game as he came down on a fast break and threw down an emphatic, one-handed flush which put the exclamation point on one of the school’s biggest wins. Black said it was something he needed for himself because of his play in the opening quarter.
Sending us to the elite eight 🤾🏾♂️🤾🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/ysi9mdV9ZX— Jordan Black 🔋 (@2d1jordan) February 21, 2019
“I needed it. I needed it,” he said. “I started out the game slow and I got my head into the game in the third quarter and finished on a high.”
This win for Mundy’s Mill means their basketball season is very much alive. It now will prepare to take on the Tri-Cities Bulldogs in an Elite Eight matchup. Tri-Cities shook off a pesky Chattahoochee squad en route to a 75-64 win. Callaway says improving is still at the forefront for his team.
“We’re going to go back to work, man,” he said. “It’s going to start back with defense, of course. We’re going to make sure we keep the guys in front of us and do all the little things like blocking out and having smart closeouts. We’re going to try to continue to improve the execution on offense. It could have been better, but we continue to improve each game.”