By Troy Treasure
Atlanta freshman Landon Gilliland got hot at a good time for the Hornets Thursday, January 9 at North Shelby.
Trailing 50-49 with 2:51 left to go in the game, Gilliland scored eight quick unanswered points … six on a pair of corner 3-pointers. All of a sudden, the Hornets led 57-50.
Atlanta then held off a Raiders’ comeback attempt winning 62-59.
“I told him at halftime, ‘Play with the amount of confidence when you step on the floor that I have in you. He shook his head like he always does and said, OK,’” Hornets first-year coach Jason White said of Gilliland.
“Late in the game, he stepped into it and knocked those (shots) down.”
North Shelby (5-6) made a run of it in the game’s final minute. Carson Orr’s 3 with 41 seconds left got NS within four, 59-55. 11 seconds later, Kyle Smith’s conventional 3-point play had the Raiders down by one.
North Shelby stole the ensuing Atlanta inbound. Orr was fouled with 28 seconds remaining. Going 1 of 2 at the free throw line, Orr tied the score at 59-all.
The Hornets (8-2) were able finish off with a free throw and basket resulting in the Raiders fourth consecutive loss.
“We play a 1-3-1 (defense), everybody knows that. Our bottom guy’s job is to get the corner. It’s his responsibility,” NS coach Landon Daniel said. “No. 1 (Gilliland) came in and hit corner three after corner three after corner three.
“That (pass) has to either be deflected or we have to be in the shooter’s shorts when he catches it and we didn’t do that all night,” Daniel continued. “I told the guys that’s just lack of focus. It’s not a lack of preparation. We knew (Atlanta) could shoot.”
In the first half, North Shelby used runs of 8-0 and 7-0 to go up 17-11 after one period. The Raiders led at the half by 11, 35-24.
Atlanta started the second half stone cold from the field; then heated up while NS went cold. The Hornets out-scored the Raiders 18-7 in a third quarter that ended tied 42-42.
Orr led the Raiders with 17 points. Smith had 11.