Jaylen Brown capped his fantastic high school career for Wheeler High with a Georgia AAAAAA state championship, making two free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 59-58 victory against Pebblebrook on Saturday night in Macon.
Brown finished a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Marietta school to victory. Brown, ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100 and an McDonald’s All American, added nine rebounds.
“It’s a blessing to be here with my guys,” Brown said afterward. “I’m overwhelmed with emotion right now. It’s hard to win a state title in the state of Georgia, you can’t believe.”
Wheeler, which is ranked No. 7 in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings, trailed 55-50 with three minutes left and was down 57-55 at the one-minute mark. Brown made two free throws with 57.9 seconds remaining to tie the score at 57-57.
Pebblebrook (Mabelton) missed on its next possession but was able to get the rebound and reset its offense. Brown was called for a foul with 7.8 remaining and Jared Harper made the first free throw and missed the second. Wheeler used a timeout, then got the ball to midcourt before calling another timeout with 4.6 seconds remaining.
After the timeout, Wheeler got the ball to Brown, who bobbled it. He regathered, initiated contact and tossed the ball toward the rim, sending him to the line for the game-winners.
Each team entered the game averaging more than 70 points.
Wheeler lost in the state finals last year to Tift County (Tifton) but left Macon this year with the school’s sixth state title and first since 2009.
“It means a lot to our school, our community,” coach Doug Lipscomb said. “I’m proud of effort that they gave. We were down five and kept battling back, made free throws, I’m elated. I’m just happy for our team.”