In other girls basketball action, Gordon Central slipped by Adairsville and Woodland was shaded by Hiram.
Lady Eagles 43, Rockmart 29
Willingham had a field day in the paint area to lead the Excel Lady Eagles to their 43-29 victory over Rockmart on Friday night.
“Emily took some good shots inside, and Rockmart had no answer for her tonight,” coach Michael Roberson said.
Excel won with a strong offensive showing in the first and fourth quarters and the Lady Eagles hit 42 percent of their shots from the field.
The Lady Eagles streaked out to a 14-7 lead after the first frame, then outscored the Lady Jackets 8-7 in the second period for a 22-14 lead. Both teams lit up the scoreboard for 9 points in the third quarter, for a 31-23 total.
Excel put the game out of reach in the final period, outscoring the host team 12-6.
Roberson said the Lady Eagles stayed focused and that helped them notch their second victory of the season.
“We pretty much controlled the game from the start, and we kept playing solid defense,” he said of the Lady Eagles. “We never trailed in the game. They started in a man defense and we handled the pressure. When they went to a zone, we were able to handle it, too.
Andrea Taylor ripped the nets for 11 points, Abby Keefe accounted for 4, and Catie Metcalf and Miriam Hibbard each threw in 2 each.
Excel plays Chattooga today. Tipoff is at 3:30 p.m.
Excel Eagles 75, Rockmart 59
Excel started strong and that allowed the Eagles to sidestep game-long foul troubles to two of its scoring stars and earn a 75-59 victory over Rockmart in boys basketball.
The Eagles are now 6-0 overall after extending the school’s best start by another game as they continue a history-setting journey.
Excel started the evening soaring but quickly encountered turbulence after the Jackets found their bearings. Excel opened the game with a 20-9 lead in the first quarter but Rockmart closed to 36-30 at the break. The Eagles found their bearings again in the third quarter, ripping off 24 points while allowing the Jackets just 9 points as the two opened the final frame with a 60-39 difference. Rockmart outscored Excel 20-15 in the final quarter.
Coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said Rudy Winters, the team’s leading scorer, and Jalen McKeller, tied for second in scoring, both got into foul trouble early and that affected the team’s offensive output. Winters and McKeller picked up three fouls in the first half.
“We started on an 11-0 run and then we had a tough time stopping [Rockmart],” Nickerson said. “They did a good job fighting back. But after halftime we ran a 1-3 at them and then zoned them. We made a run of our own in the third quarter and played the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead.”
He said the Eagles put more emphasis on stopping the Jackets. “We had to buckle down and concentrate on our defense to help us.”
Winters led the Eagles with 23 points and McKeller threw in 9 points.
Nickerson said Elijah Robinson, who contributed 20 points, was a difference maker.
“Elijah was almost unstoppable,” Nickerson said. “When we got in foul trouble, he knew he had to step up his offensive play and he did. He played an outstanding game for us.”
Rockmart dropped to 1-3 on the season.
Excel hosts Chattooga today. Tipoff is at 5 p.m.
Gordon Central 60, Lady Tigers 56
Adairsville started cold and rallied but still came up short late in the fourth quarter and fell to Gordon Central, 60-56 in girls basketball play.
“We didn’t start well and I’d like to have the first half back,” coach Meredith Barnhill said. “But our kids showed a lot of heart. We were down by 20 in the third quarter and cut it to 4 to start the 4th quarter. We cut it to 1 late in the fourth but that was as close as we got.”
Gordon Central, a region foe, got off to a strong start in the first half, walking into intermission with a 32-17 lead, but Adairsville starting cutting into the lead after the break. The Lady Tigers outscored their foes 20-10 in the third frame. Both teams dropped in 18 points in the final quarter.
Leading the way for Adairsville was Stephanie Kuhrt, who tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Julia Roberson, who torched the net for 22 points, including going 6-for-6 at the 3-point line.
Also helping the cause were Cassidy Howren, 9; Taylor Weeks, 4; Mallorie Collum, 4; Kelsy Hice, 4; and Lexie Adams, 2.
The Lady Tigers return to the hardwoods today when they visit Trion. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.
The Lady Tigers fell to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in Region 5-AAA.
Gordon Central is 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the region.
Hiram 38, Lady Wildcats 25
The Woodland girls played tough defensively but it wasn’t enough Friday night as Hiram took an important region win in girls high school basketball play.
The Hornets won the low-scoring affair with the Lady Wildcats, 38-25.
It was the first loss for Woodland in region play, as the Lady Wildcats fell to 2-1. They are 3-4 overall.
Hiram improved to 6-2 overall, 3-1 in the region.
Woodland next plays today, when it visits East Paulding. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.