Class A Public boys final: Drew Charter 51, Warren County 50

March 9, 2022 Macon - Drew Charter's head coach Kenyatta Bennett and players celebrate their victory over Warren County during the 2022 GHSA State Basketball Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Drew Charter won 51-50 over Warren County.  (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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March 9, 2022 Macon - Drew Charter's head coach Kenyatta Bennett and players celebrate their victory over Warren County during the 2022 GHSA State Basketball Championship game at the Macon Centreplex in Macon on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Drew Charter won 51-50 over Warren County. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Macon -- Down six points in the third quarter? No problem for Drew Charter. Trailing by four with 23.6 seconds left? No sweat.

It was just another day at the office for the No. 1-ranked Eagles, who rallied to win their first state championship 51-50 over No. 6 Warren County on Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum.

Kenyatta Bennett kept the dream alive when he swished a 3-pointer with 16.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one. After Warren County threw the ball away – an unforced error – Drew got a chance to take the lead when Cedric Taylor was fouled with 13.2 seconds left. Taylor made the two free throws look easy and the Eagles had their first lead of the half.

“We’ve been in these tough games before,” Drew coach Kenyatta Bennett said. “We’ve played some 6A schools, 7A schools, so our guys have been used to being in these situations. We were down 15 and won a game, so you get used to being in the situation.”

It didn’t quite end there. Warren County turned the ball over again on a bad pass from the backcourt and had to foul Drew’s Jakobe Strozier. He missed the front end of a one-and-one and Warren’s Ken’vonte Brinkley grabbed the rebound and began the sequence to get a final shot. The ball was rushed up court and the game ended when Strozier raced down to block a drive at the buzzer.

“When the game started we knew we were going to win,” said Drew’s Cam Johnson, who scored a game-high 17 points. “There was no doubt at all.”

Drew (31-1) got 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks from Taylor and eight points each from Bennett and Tripplett. Strozier had six rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Warren County (25-4) was led by Brinkley with 15 points and nine rebounds and Lorenzo Johnson, who had 14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and five steals. Ra’quan Myers added nine points and six rebounds.

Drew finished the season by winning their final 29 games and spent most of the season at No. 1.

“I wouldn’t say it was pressure, but it’s a standard to us,” Johnson said. “We are going to be ‘them dudes,’ like our coach says.”

The championship trek was not without its controversy. An error by the official scorer in the semifinal game  enabled Drew to get to overtime and defeat unbeaten Social Circle. The outcome was not subject to appeal, which angered the Social Circle followers, who continued to state their case on social media and threatened to show up in Macon and protest.

“We always talk about adversity and how this game teaches you a lot,” coach Bennett said. “It’s a roller coaster. That’s just how life is. We teach that you’ve got to fight through adversity. Just keep going.”