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Martin, Cleveland lead Leopards to win over Jefferson in top-10 matchup [VIDEO]

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Pierce Martin shot the lights out, and Carl Cleveland did his usual in a 71-67 win over Jefferson on Tuesday night in Homer. Banks County (1-0), ranked #9 in the state coming in, opened the season with a statement win over the #8-ranked Dragons (0-1).

Martin dropped a game-high 31, while Cleveland added 23 as part of a near triple-double. The Leopards led 21-13 after one, but Jefferson, led by Owen Parker’s 12 first half points, clawed to within 34-31 at the break after an 18-point second quarter.

Both teams traded buckets in the third quarter, as Banks County led 50-48 going into the final quarter. Jefferson took a late, brief lead when Daniel Parker made good on a layup to push the Dragons out front, 52-50. Over the last couple of minutes, there were six lead changes, including Jefferson’s final lead at 62-58 after an and-one by Daniel Parker.

Down 4, Cleveland hit a triple, followed by one by Clay Gosnell for the 64-62 lead. Owen Parker responded with his own, giving Jefferson one last lead. It was Martin’s 3-pointer with about a minute left that proved the final lead change, and Gosnell hit two freebies down the stretch to ice the game.

Aside from Martin’s game-best 31 and Cleveland’s 23, Gosnell chipped in with 9 for the Leopards. Owen Parker tallied 21, while Jacob Radaker had 15 for the Dragons and Damien Lester 14. Daniel Parker finished with 7 points. Banks’ Cleveland posted a near triple-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists, adding 3 steals.

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