The task will be tougher today as St. Pius comes to the Storm Center at 7 p.m. for the second round of the state playoffs.
“They’re loaded,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “They have a 6-9 kid, who’s going to East Carolina. They have real good shooters and they like to slow it down and be real fundamental.”
The matchup is one of contrasting styles as Cartersville averaged nearly 80 points per game this season and prefers to push the tempo. On the other hand, St. Pius averaged just 55 points per game, while limiting opponents to a paltry 42 per contest.
St. Pius is a disciplined team that likes to be patient on offense and wait for the defense to make a mistake.
The Golden Lions are coming off a game Saturday against Elbert County in the first round in which they won by two points to advance and play Cartersville. Like the Canes, Elbert County plays at a fast pace, averaging 70 points per game. St. Pius was able to hold Elbert to 54.
St. Pius’ No. 11, 6-foot-9 Nick Harris, committed to College of Charleston in September. He holds down the lane defensively and can score in the post or in the pick-and-roll.
6-foot-1 Hunter Benham will likely draw the assignment to start the game and will try to use his toughness and physicality to compensate for Harris’ height advantage.
St. Pius also has two shooters, Ben Tuttle and Will Maguire. They like to spot up off penetration from their guards.
Overall, St. Pius went 24-5 this season and finished third in the highly competitive Region 6-AAA.
The game is a rematch of the second round of the state playoffs in football this fall. St. Pius defeated Cartersville 31-19 back on Nov. 22, 2013.
Several Cartersville football players also are on the basketball team, including sixth man Bryce Gober, Devin Henderson and Mark Quattlebaum.
Daniel Crochet, St. Pius’ middle linebacker, who is committed to play football at Cornell, is one of the Golden Lions’ top forwards and serves as a physical rebounder and defender at 6 foot 3 and 215 pounds.