The year’s high school basketball season was one of particular significance as two teams recorded the best season in their schools’ history, one of which was Cartersville with former Woodland High coach Mike Tobin at the helm.
Cartersville went 27-2 and won the region 5-AAA Tournament. The squad advanced to the second round of the state playoffs in Tobin’s first year as head coach of the Purple Hurricanes after coaching at Woodland for 10 years.
Meanwhile, Excel Christian Academy burst onto the Bartow County basketball scene with its own tremendous season. The Eagles recorded 26 wins against just three losses while advancing to the Elite Eight in the Class A state playoffs. The burgeoning program drastically improved from a 14-12 record in the 2011-12 season.
“We had a great run. This was something we will all remember forever,” former Excel coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said of his team in 2012-13. “People will be chasing after what they accomplished now. They should be proud of themselves.”
Cartersville and Excel paced the county, but the talent stretched across all five schools. Woodland recorded an 11-13 record while finishing 6-10 in the tough region 5A-AAAAA under first-year head coach John Howard.
The Adairsville Tigers went 10-16 and 4-10 in region 5B-AAA. Cass finished 8-18 and 4-5 in 7A-AAAA.
The head-to-head competitions saw Cartersville come out on top against the other three Bartow County public schools. The Canes beat Cass twice, 77-36 and 67-35. They beat Adairsville twice, 78-40 and 76-50. Finally, Cartersville took down Woodland by a score of 67-35. Cass and Adairsville split two games, while Woodland defeated Cass and did not play Adairsville.
Co-Players of the Year
Several individuals stood out over the course of the season, as well. None more so than Ryan Davis and Rudy Winters, who were each instrumental in leading their schools to uncharted territory in their program’s history.
The pair share the honor as The Daily Tribune News All-County Co-Players of the Year.
This is the second player of the year award the two are sharing as both also were named The Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Co-Players of the Year.
In his junior year, Davis led the Canes in several categories. The 6-foot-4 guard was a true stat-sheet-stuffer, averaging 17.4 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Davis was the Rome News Tribune Tournament Most Valuable Player, the Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Co-Player of the Year and a selection to both the Atlanta Journal Constitution Class-AAA All-State Team and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Class AAA North’s All-State Team. He was also named to the Region 5-AAA All-Region Team.
Not to be outdone, Winters led the county in scoring with 20 points per game. He also averaged six rebounds and two assists per contest, as well as winning the Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Co-Player of the Year.
Winters also was the face of Excel’s turnaround this season.
“He definitely was one of the crowd favorites,” Nickerson said to The Daily Tribune News after Winters won the Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Co-Player of the Year award. “You could see him with his teammates before the game working to get their energy level really high and he’d get the crowd excited with a big time shot or a dunk.”
Winters made two buzzer-beaters this season to help excel maintain its one-loss record over the course of the regular season.
He will play for Gordon State College in Barnesville next season.
Corey Tobin - Cartersville
Davis certainly did not lead his team to its most wins in school history alone and Tobin was more than a sidekick. The 6-foot-5 junior guard was named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Class AAA North’s All-State basketball team alongside Davis.
Tobin also was named to the Rome News Tribune All-Tournament Team and the Region 5-AAA All-Region Team.
He averaged 14.2 points per game this season and was the Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Player of the Month in January. He hit 83 three-pointers and hit at an 84 percent clip from the free throw line. He now has 179 three-point field goals made on his career. Tobin was more than a scorer, however, averaging 4.7 assists and nearly two steals per game.
A.J. Mosby - Cartersville
Mosby averaged 14.6 points per game to go along with his 78 steals on the season.
The Cartersville guard made 44 three-pointers on the year, made the Region 5-AAA All-Region Team and made the Rome News Tribune All-Tournament Team.
Elijah Robinson - Excel Christian Academy
Robinson was the second half of Excel’s dynamic duo and signed to play at Chattahoochee Tech next season.
David Archer, Chatt Tech’s head coach, is excited to have the all-county player on his team.
“What I saw him bring to the table at Excel was [Winters] scored the majority of the points, but I felt Elijah was the foundation and the glue that allowed things to click on the floor. We feel he’s a very big piece for us the next two years,” Archer said.
Austin Greenfield - Adairsville
The senior guard was an All-Area First Team Rome News Selection and the Tiger’s leading scorer at 12 points per game. He was also second on the team in assists and steals as the team’s captain. “He is a versatile player with the ability to play multiple positions,” Adairsville’s head coach Kent Howard said.
Tyler Washington - Adairsville
Washington was the team’s junior point guard and also was named as an All-Area Second Team Rome News Selection. He led the Tigers in assists with 4.5 per game and steals with 1.5 per game. He added 8 points per game.
Howard said he was a team leader and held a 4.0 grade point average as a student.
Greg Murphy - Woodland
Murphy was a 2012-13 Region 5B-AAA First Team All-Region selection. He also was named Woodland’s Co-Most Valuable Player. He has accumulated 1,056 career points to go along with 515 career rebounds.
R.J. Williams - Woodland
Williams joins Murphy in being named Woodland’s Co-Most Valuable Player while attaining 52 steals this season. Williams is also a facilitator on offense, amassing 331 assists in his career at Woodland. He was named The Northwest Georgia Tipoff Club Player of the Month in December.
Chris Darden - Cass
Darden averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as a senior this year at Cass. “He gave his all each night,” Cass’ head coach Greg Scott said of Darden. “He probably was the most undersized postman in the region. He battled each night and you knew what you were going to get from him.”
Justin Reed - Cass
Reed averaged eight points per game for the Colonels and was the county’s leading rebounder with nine per game. “He gave us the most size and the most physical inside presence we had last year,” Scott said of Reed. “We knew he had to rebound and he did for us to have a chance to be successful.”
Honorable Mention: T.L. Ford, Cartersville; Hakeem Winters, Cartersville; Sammie Frazier, Adairsville; Kyle Adams; Adairsville; Darius Thrower, Cass.