Greenwood's Isaiah Robinson drives the ball downcourt during the Eagles' game against Saluda in the Emerald City Classic on Friday at Emerald High School.
(PHOTOS BY SHAWN M. KNOX | SPECIAL TO THE INDEX-JOURNAL)
Entering Friday's game against Saluda, Greenwood High School guard Jarryd Coleman had already shown an ability to come through late when his team needed a clutch basket.
But that sure didn't stop him from showing it again against the Tigers.
With his team clinging to a four-point lead, Coleman buried a cold-blooded 3-pointer from the left wing — one of five on the night — with 1:50 to play that gave Greenwood the breathing room it needed to put away Saluda and earn a 79-67 victory in the semifinals of the Index-Journal Emerald City Classic.
That basket accounted for just one of the big plays Coleman made on the night and just three of the senior guard's game-high 31 points.
"Coleman's a great kid and a great basketball player, and if you've got a player like that, you've got to get him the basketball," Greenwood coach Kelcey Stevens said. "There wasn't any guesswork to it. (The game plan was) get the ball to Coleman in the post, get it to him on the perimeter and just get him the ball wherever we could, and he came through for us (Friday)."
The 12-point margin of victory was not indicative of how close the game was, as the Eagles (5-2) needed every bit of Coleman's performance to counteract the outstanding performance of Saluda (7-2) point guard Maurice Howard, who finished with 25 points.
After falling behind 7-0 early in the first quarter, Saluda closed to within three points on 11 different occasions throughout the game, the final of which came when a layup by Denzel Larry made it 66-63 with just less than three minutes to play.
After Mock Adams added a free throw with 2:18 to play to make it 67-63, the Tigers turned the ball over with an offensive foul, setting the stage for Coleman to drain his dagger 3-pointer that pushed the lead to seven and set the Eagles on their way to a victory.
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