Rabun County held a halftime lead and hade a share of it in the fourth, but Carl Cleveland and the Banks County Leopards (12-8; 7-2 in 8-AA) came out on top Friday night in Tiger, 62-51.
The Wildcats (4-15; 3-6 in 8-AA) led by as much as six during the contest, but the visiting Leopards made a 9-3 to close the gap before the break. Banks County outscored Rabun 32-16 in the second half.
Cleveland poured in a game-best 28 points, adding 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.
Rabun held the lead twice in the first quarter, but it ended tied at 14 apiece. The second quarter saw the Cats go up by six, but Banks’ 9-3 run bridged the gap. Rabun still ended with an 8-0 run near the end of the half to go up 35-30 into the locker room.
The Leopards outscored Rabun 16-6 in the third quarter, highlighted by eight points from Cleveland, including two trays. Rabun made things interesting with a burst in the fourth, a 7-2 run to tie the game on a layup by Cameron Lovell. However, the Leopards finished the game on a 14-3 run to earn the win.
Cleveland led all with 28 points, while Wes Ledford had 9 and Clay Gosnell 7 for Banks. Rabun was paced by Chase Buchanan’s 12 points (all 3-pointers), followed by Lovell’s 11. Kasin Old and Gus Hood each chipped in with 9, while Dawson Lathan finished with 8.