NEWBERRY — The Newberry High boys basketball team defended their Newberry Christmas Tournament championship Friday night at Newberry College’s Eleazor Arena with an 83-80 victory over Aiken High.
The Bulldogs trailed after each of the first two quarters, (24-19, 40-37) but slowly crept up on the Green Hornets’ lead in the third quarter.
With 14 seconds left in that stanza, Notorious Booker hit both of his free throws to notch the score at 62 points apiece.
Booker, who garnered the MVP honor at the tournament last year with his game winning shot with less than a second to go, stole the Aiken ball at mid-court where Tovaris Cureton, after the Booker assist, made his only tournament three-pointer as it fell through the net as the buzzer was sounding, putting the Bulldogs ahead for the duration of the night at 65-62.
Aiken tried a potential game-tying three-pointer with five seconds left in the game but the shot was no good as Kaheem Praylow, who won the MVP honor this year after dropping in a quiet 30 points on the night, grabbed the rebound and dribbled out the final seconds in front of a crowd that easily numbered more than the previous three games of the day combined.
Also scoring in the game were Jalin Alexander with 15 points and Trey Miller who scored 14.
Jaylen Lindsay scored six points while Cureton scored five.
Dominic Gilmore, Jeremy Summers, Tyon Williams, Trey Gary, Jaylen Reeder and Booker each scored two points.
Bennett Wilson finished the Newberry scoring with one free-throw.
Battling for the seventh place spot in the tournament to start the day off was Mid-Carolina and Brookland-Cayce.
The Rebels took the lead for good in the second quarter as they would go on to the 59-48 victory.
Danton Hyman scored 15 points, Cornelius Glasgow finished the evening with 10 while Tevarres Taylor scored nine.
Also, Marcus McMorris contributed eight points, Javarious Nelson finished with six, Zach Parker scored five, Chris Boyd scored four points while Brent Caldwell scored two points.
Saluda won the consolation championship on Friday with a 58-42 victory over Columbia while Fort Mill won the third place honor with a 56-32 victory over Clinton.
The Bulldogs advanced to the championship game after they defeated Fort Mill on Thursday, 67-54.
Newberry led after each of the final three quarters of play including 49-41 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Praylow had a game-high 19 points while Lindsay, Alexander and Summers each scored nine points.
Wilson scored five points while Booker finished with four.
The Newberry scoring ended with the two points apiece from Reeder and Gary.
Facing their region foe Saluda, the Rebels fell to the Tigers 82-54.
Caldwell led the Rebels’ scoring with 13 points, Parker and Boyd finished with nine points apiece while Hyman and Tevarres Taylor scored eight points each.
Marcus Chapman saw five points go in the third quarter while Glasgow ended the M:id-Carolina scoring with two points.
In the other games of the day, Columbia defeated Brookland-Cayce 57-53 and Aiken had an 80-57 victory over Clinton.
Newberry, who is now 10-0, will travel to Dorman High for their tournament beginning Thursday as the Bulldogs will face Alpharetta out of Atlanta.
The Bulldogs went 16-0 inside Newberry county between January 1 and December 31 of this calendar year between their games at Eleazor Arena, at Mid-Carolina and in the Scott Gym.