Jonesboro overcame a 46-point effort by Alexander’s Hassani Gravett and outlasted the Cougars for a 78-75 overtime victory in the Class AAAA boys semifinals Saturday at the University of West Georgia.
The victory puts Jonesboro (26-6) in the state championship game against No. 1 Columbia at 8:45 p.m. Thursday at the Macon Centreplex. Jonesboro reached the semifinals in 2011 and 2012 but has never won a state title.
Zerrick Cooper made one of two free throws with 7.5 seconds to play in overtime to give Jonesboro its final three-point lead, and Gravett’s desperation shot at the buzzer fell short.
Jonesboro had a chance to put the game away in regulation, but the Cardinals went 0-for-6 from the free-throw line and committed a turnover in the final 57 seconds. Alexander’s Mikell Lands-Davis made one of two free throws with seven seconds remaining to send the game into overtime at 68-68.
Gravett scored 26 of Alexander’s 35 second-half points and all seven in overtime. His 3-pointer with 2:20 to play in overtime gave Alexander a 71-70 lead, its only lead since the second quarter. Gravett was 13-for-19 from the field, including 8-for-11 on 3-pointers, and made 12 of 13 free-throw attempts. Lands-Davis finished with 15 points.
Jonesboro got big nights from James Walker (28 points and 12 rebounds) and Austin Donaldson (20 points, seven rebounds). Walker was 4-for-4 on free throws in overtime and made 17 of 21 in the game.
Jonesboro trailed 31-26 with 2:19 remaining in the second quarter but outscored the Cougars 9-2 the rest of the half and scored the first six points of the third quarter to take a 41-33 lead. Alexander (26-4) hung close but did not pull even until Lands-Davis’ free throw in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
Jonesboro (78): Tracy Hector 15, Eijah Wade 5, DeAntre Mack 6, Austin Donaldson 20, James Walker 28, Zerrick Cooper 3, Kenneth Qualls 1, Tyrek Jenkins, Jyair Mincy.
Alexander (75): Hassani Gravett 46, Mikell Lands-Davis 15, Artavius Love 2, Jaquon Grier 4, Jermaine Carpenter 2, Kevion Dailey, AJ Taylor, Trae Jones, Yuseff Carpenter, Antonio Hall 6.