In a back-and-forth affair, the Cartersville High boys basketball team lost the Region 5-AAAA championship game Saturday against Sandy Creek at LaGrange High School, 62-51.
The Canes will settle for second-place in the region, and will host Heritage, Catoosa next Saturday at 7 p.m. in the friendly confines of The Storm Center for the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
When Cartersville fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter Saturday, and its two top guns, T.J. Horton and Jaylon Pugh, each picked up their second fouls, it appeared as though it was going to be a long night for the Canes.
However, Cartersville came back to eventually take the lead at halftime and earn a seven-point advantage at one point in the third quarter.
But Sandy Creek then called a timeout, and proceeded to go on a run, regaining the lead late.
However, the Canes still had their chances until, when down five with about two minutes to go, Cartersville missed a floater in the lane and Sandy Creek turned it into a 3 on the other end, making it an 8-point Cartersville deficit.
From there, Cartersville began gambling on defense and had to foul, resulting in an 11-point Cartersville loss that was not all that indicative of the competitiveness of the game.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said afterward of his team. “They worked their tails off.”
Despite the early foul trouble, Horton and Pugh combined for 32 points, with Pugh leading the way with 18.
Junior Perignon Dyer had one of his biggest games of the year in support, scoring 13. Only two other Canes scored, and each had two points.
Cartersville and Sandy Creek had split two games during the regular season, with the Canes winning the first at home and then losing at Sandy Creek by a 26-point margin on Jan. 26.