The Purple Hurricanes defeated the Warriors by a score of 116-28 Friday night at Gordon Central and broke the school’s all-time record for most points in a game, which had been 104 points against Southeast Whitfield in the 1975 season.
“I never want to embarrass a team, whoever we face. The adjustment we try to make is just to play half court defense instead of full-court press, which is what we tried to do the first half,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “We have to get ready for region and states. Our game is in transition and pushing the basketball, so we obviously got a bunch of transition baskets.”
Cartersville had previously defeated Gordon Central by a score of 101-27 on Jan. 8 at Cartersville High.
Friday’s game had even further significance because of the single-game points record, but also because it clinched the top seed in the Region 5-AAA tournament.
The Purple Hurricanes are now 19-2, 11-0 in region play. Their two losses came against Allatoona and Hillgrove by a combined seven points, both of whom have been ranked in the top 10 of Class AAAAA and AAAAAA, respectively.
The talent that has led Cartersville to its success in the first 21 games was on display Friday at Gordon Central where the Canes dominated their opponent on the glass and by causing turnovers.
Cartersville outrebounded Gordon Central 41-18, while Gordon Central turned the ball over 46 times.
Cartersville’s pressure defense was largely responsible as the team stole the ball from Gordon Central players on 34 occasions. Junior Bryce Gober led the way with nine steals while Hakeem Winters added six.
The steals led to opportunities in transition where Cartersville is at its best. The result of the fast-paced game led to the high point total and opportunities to share the ball, resulting in 38 assists on 50 Cartersville baskets. Corey Tobin led the way with 12 dimes.
One of the primary beneficiaries of the passing was Hunter Benham, who scored 33 points on 16-of-21 shooting from the floor. Benham also collected 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, to contribute eight second-chance points.
Despite the gaudy statistics and final outcome, the game began sloppily for Cartersville as the cancelled practices this past week affected the team early.
After two consecutive turnovers, Cartersville led by a score of just 6-5 after the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game.
“We were sloppy,” Tobin said. “We looked like a team that had not practiced in four days.”
Despite the poor start, the Canes would increase their intensity before long and went on a 17-3 run to end the first quarter with a 23-8 lead.
Senior Mark Quattlebaum, known for his exploits on the gridiron more so than the hardwood, gave Cartersville a boost of energy when he entered the game as the first substitution off Tobin’s bench.
Quattlebaum ignited his team with five quick points, three rebounds and a steal to help spark Cartersville’s run.
“Mark’s a great kid. The guys love him,” Tobin said. “He’s not used to getting more than a couple of minutes a game, so it was fun to see him out there. He’s a heck of an athlete, obviously, from football.”
Quattlebaum saw an increase in minutes as backup point guard Devin Henderson was on a football recruiting trip.
Two other Cartersville players did not play because of health issues and senior A.J. Mosby sat out the second half of the game.
As a result, Quattlebaum took advantage of the extra playing time to score 10 points and grab five rebounds.
Starting point guard Ryan Davis continued his stellar play this season and added 23 points and eight rebounds.
In addition to Tobin’s passing, the senior added 18 points.
Cartersville’s next game will come Tuesday at home against Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.