“We need to be more aggressive and physical,” Tobin said. “That is something that we were not the first time we played them.”
The “them” Tobin referred to were the Gordon Central Warriors, who were headed to the Storm Center with every intention of spoiling the Canes’ regular season perfection at their home gymnasium.
Although the Canes had defeated the Warriors in early January thanks to a strong second half of basketball, “they [the Warriors] dictated the tempo throughout the first half,” Tobin added. “Plus, we did not hold our ground very well.”
Unfortunately, Tobin’s premonition came to fruition, as the Warriors (16-8) were again the aggressors throughout the first half in their second meeting. Only this time around, “we did it,” coach Rodney English kept repeating to anybody within listening distance as he and his Warriors walked off the court having defeated Cartersville, 80-72.
Gordon Central did it by building a 17-point halftime lead and staving off the Canes’ furious second-half rally.
Already leading 30-26 early in the second quarter, Gordon Central closed out the first half with a 16-3 run.
“We came sluggish that first half,” said Ryan Davis, who scored nine of his 21 points in the first half. “We also took it for granted that all we had do to win was show up.”
It looked like Cartersville would indeed win, as it battled back from its 17-point first half deficit to take a 59-58 momentary lead on A.J. Mosby’s 3-point basket with 6:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. Gordon Central would eventually take a 62-59 lead on Chandler Curtis’ two free throws and O.J. Prather’s basket, before Cartersville (24-1) tied it at 62-62 on Corey Tobin’s 3-point basket with 5:19 remaining.
Gordon Central never looked back after Prather’s basket gave the Warriors a 64-62 lead seven seconds later.
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