Canes advance to 2nd round
by Andrew Adler
Feb 21, 2013 | 1342 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville’s Alex Christina found himself all alone underneath Elbert County’s basket with time winding down in the fourth quarter. With his back to the goal, the 6-2 Christina, who is only a sophomore, did a quick 180 before scoring an uncontested layup. His layup accounted for his only two points scored and the Canes’ final two points in their 103-74 win over the Blue Devils Wednesday night at the Storm Center.

The victory propels Cartersville into the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs, where they will play St. Pius X Saturday at home.

In their lone trip to Bartow County this season, the Golden Lions lost to the Excel Eagles, 64-62, in overtime.

“St. Pius is loaded,” said Tobin, looking very much like an emotionally-drained coach whose team needed two overtimes to win instead of one who enjoyed his team’s lopsided victory. “I’m just thankful that our first two state playoff games are at the Storm Center.”

Those who filled the Storm Center Wednesday gave Cartersville’s starters a standing ovation as they exited the basketball court leading 99-68 with 2:06 remaining to play.

Christina, a late addition to Tobin’s postseason lineup, was one of 10 Cartersville players who contributed to the 29-point victory and a chance to advance to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.

“I have confidence in every one of my players, even those who have seen limited playing time,” Tobin said.

Two of those players Tobin referred to were sophomore guard Bryce Gober, who scored six points, and junior forward Hunter Benham, who was one of five Cartersville players to score in double figures.

Tobin did not hesitate putting in Gober for A.J. Mosby and Benham for T.L. Ford, respectively, as both Mosby and Ford found themselves in early foul trouble. Benham’s final two points gave Cartersville an insurmountable 91-65 lead.

“Winning the first game of any type of postseason tournament, region or state, is always the hardest,” Tobin said. “Our starters and reserves did not show any nervousness or tightness against Elbert County. They all exited the locker room ready to play.”

For all practical purposes, Cartersville (27-1) put the game out of reach with its 38-21 second quarter lead. It was 75-52 after three quarters. Having the honors of putting the Canes over the century mark was Zack Hacker, who also is a sophomore.

To read the rest of this story, please purchase a copy of The Daily Tribune News at your nearby news rack or subscribe to the E-edition.