FAIRBURN—The Trinity Lions and Landmark Christian War Eagles took turns Monday night exchanging the lead and the momentum in the first round of the Region 5-A tournament.
In the end, a late-surge by the War Eagles in their home gym spoiled the Lions’ hopes of snagging a first-round victory as Landmark Christian won the game 59-57.
The War Eagles improved their record to 12-14, while Trinity dropped to 11-14.
Trinity led 49-46 heading into the final period, but managed to make just three shots from the field in the final eight minutes as Landmark advanced in the tournament.
Landmark’s Micah McAllister, the Region 5-1A Player of the Year, was the catalyst throughout the game for the War Eagles, including in the fourth quarter, hitting three of four free throws down the stretch.
After the War Eagles went up 58-55, the Lions made one last comeback attempt when Brady Burnett drilled a 3-point shot to cut the lead to 58-57, but it was the last time Trinity put points on the board.
Trinity built its biggest lead of the fourth quarter when McClean Hoekwater hit a shot to give the Lions a 51-46 lead.
Landmark closed out the game on a 13-6 run
The War Eagles grabbed a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After Tyler Whitfield hit a basket to give Trinity a 4-3 lead, Landmark’s offense caught fire, outscoring the Lions 16-3 the rest of the first period.
McAllister connected on two 3-pointers and Jackson Burns hit a trey of his own to push the War Eagles into a 17-6 lead.
Trinity quickly erased its offensive drought from the first quarter.
Five Trinity players scored in the second quarter turning a first-quarter deficit into a double-digit lead as the Lions built a 32-24 lead at the break.
The Lions were 8 for 10 from the free throw line in the second period.
Hoekwater’s basket gave the Lions a 32-22 lead right before the end of the second period.
Landmark clawed its way back in the third quarter, hitting five 3-pointers and forcing several ties.
Aleski Nelson and Nathan Orr each hit two 3-pointers and McAllister one.
After McAllister’s trey, the War Eagles led 44-43.
Trinity however, closed out the third period on a 6-2 run.
Late baskets by Hoekwater, Shamari Reed and Giancairo Bastianoni Sanchez gave the Lions the 49-46 lead heading into the final period.
Bastianoni Sanchez was a force inside all night for the Lions.
The 6-7, junior, controlled the boards on both sides of the court and also came up with some key baskets, especially in the second quarter as part of the Lions’ comeback.
Landmark’s McCallister led all scorers with 25 points. Orr had 13 for the War Eagles.
Sanchez dropped in 16 for the Trinity. Hoekwater had 13 and Burnett 11 to pace the Lions.
Landmark moved on to play Southwest Atlanta Christian on Tuesday in the 5-A South tournament.