The Tigers, currently tied for second in the region, put some separation between them and another region opponent in the top half of the standings as they beat North Murray by a score of 55-37 at Adairsville High.
“That’s a really good team. They’re really well coached,” Adairsville head coach Kent Howard said of North Murray. “I think we played well. I’m real proud of the guys. I think we had a good day of practice yesterday and this is one of those games that we’ve talked about as far as region standings go, and us needing a win to keep us one step ahead.”
The story of the game was Adairsville’s defense, which held North Murray to just 10 points in the first half on 4-of-18 shooting.
North Murray turned the ball over six times in the first five minutes of the game. In those five minutes, the Tigers took a double-digit lead.
Adairsville’s press actually slowed down North Murray, a team that usually operates at a faster pace according to Howard.
“It was definitely our best half of basketball, defensively, that first half. North Murray scores a lot of points and they run and they play fast, so to hold a team like that to 10 just shows a lot about our guys just getting down and guarding,” Howard said. “As a coach, you would like to take credit for that, but our guys work hard at it, they execute and they did their jobs. I tell them all the time, Bear Bryant philosophy, just do your job. Fortunately, we had five guys most of that first half doing their jobs.”
Adairsville led by a score of 16-5 at the end of the first quarter as Torrey Hale and Spenser Moore had five and four points in the period, respectively, to take the burden off Tyler Washington and Sammie Frazier to score.
Frazier did not have to score much because of the early lead, but did contribute nine rebounds and three blocks in the game.
Frazier had three rebounds, two blocks and a steal early in the second quarter as his defense helped hold North Murray to 2-for-11 shooting from the field in the second quarter and a 27-10 Adairsville lead.
With a 17-point lead, Adairsville did not come out as strong in the beginning of the second half. North Murray put on a full-court press of its own and forced four Adairsville turnovers in the first three minutes of the third quarter. The points off the turnovers allowed the Mountaineers to go on a 7-1 run.
However, after Howard called a timeout, the team came out more composed to handle the press and got the lead back up to 17 points just a minute and a half later.
The Tigers increased the lead to 21 before the end of the third quarter and were able to cruise in the fourth to the victory.
“To hold them to 30-something points was a great night defensively. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” Howard said. “I saw a lot of our younger guys grow up tonight. Some of our sophomores, like Torrey Hale and Sidnee Johnson made some smart plays and some big plays down the stretch.”
Junior Marcus Childers led a balanced attack with 14 points. Hale finished in double figures with 10 and Dametrices Pitt had nine, while Moore and Washington finished with seven. Washington added six assists.
Adairsville is now 10-7 and 6-3 in the region. The team’s next game will come Friday at Cartersville at 8:30 p.m.
Woodland 73, North Paulding 46
The Woodland boys basketball team had only beaten North Paulding by two points the last time the two teams met on Jan. 3.
As coaches say, “A win is a win,” but Tuesday’s victory over North Paulding was particularly impressive as the Wildcats rolled by a score of 73-46.
“We did well tonight. The good team showed up,” Howard said of his team’s effort. “We kind of got into them defensively. Defensive stops led to some easy turnover baskets and we shot the ball better than we’ve been shooting.”
Woodland connected on eight 3-point attempts in the game, part of a balanced scoring attack that saw each Wildcat get in the score book.
“This is awesome. We scored 73 points and we only had one person in double figures,” Howard said. “It was pretty evenly spread out. I was very happy.”
Even with the offensive performance, Howard was even more pleased with his team’s defensive showing.
“They’re a really good offensive team. They scored 72 against us last time,” Howard said of North Paulding. “We try to hang our hat on defense and we knew that we had to step it up tonight.”
Desmon Green led all scorers with 18 points as Woodland improved to 10-9 on the season and 4-7 in region play.
“That was a big win. We needed the region win, too. It’s huge,” Howard said. “We have a county game that we’re going to go into with a whole lot more confidence now because we didn’t play very well last time we played [Adairsville]. I think it’s going to do wonders for our confidence.”
Woodland travels to Adairsville Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. tipoff.
Cartersville 91, Sonoraville 37
The Cartersville boys basketball team steamrolled another opponent Tuesday night at Sonoraville as the Canes scored early and often in the 91-37 victory.
“We played real well. We’ve played well two games in a row and we’ve done a good job of distributing the ball,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “I was real pleased with the way we created in the paint. I wouldn’t be surprised if each one of [Ryan Davis, Corey Tobin and A.J. Mosby] had 10 or more assists. They played awesome. We got a lot of points making the extra pass.”
The ball sharing for Cartersville resulted in each of the players on the team scoring. The scoring leaders were Mosby with 22, Tobin with 20, Davis with 16 and Hunter Benham with 11.
According to Tobin, the defensive effort was also strong, holding Sonoraville to 37 points in the game and turning defense into offense on several occasions.
“We played real well defensively,” Tobin said. “We had a lot of steals and a lot of points off steals.”
Cartersville is now 17-2 and 10-0 in the region as the team continues to pull away from the pack and ranks among the best teams in Class AAA.
Next up, Adairsville will come into the Storm Center Friday night at 8:30 p.m. in a matchup of two of the top teams in Region 5-AAA.
Darlington 72, Excel 60
Sometimes the score of a game is not emblematic of how close the contest actually was.
Such was the case Tuesday night as the Excel boys basketball team was tied with the second-place team in the region, Darlington, with three minutes remaining in the game, but could not come through in end and fell by a score of 72-60.
Unfortunately for Excel head coach Chad Parker, losing close games is becoming all too familiar with his young team. The Eagles lost a one-point game to Christian Heritage last week and a two-point game the week before against Trion.
“We played well in a back-and-forth game. There was a lot of lead changes and we just couldn’t finish at the end. It’s another example of a very young team just trying to find its way against a senior-laden Darlington team,” Parker said of the game. “I’m proud to be in those games and we’re trying to learn how to finish. I’m really proud of the effort and intensity. We’re playing some really good basketball. The scoreboard doesn’t always show it, but we’re doing a lot of good things.”