Some of the best basketball of the season is played in the weeks preceding the holiday vacations for the local high schools. Such was the case this year with holiday tournaments providing plenty of exciting games as the teams round into midseason form.
The Cartersville boys basketball team’s championship performance was the most impressive as the Purple Hurricanes won four games in five days, including the championship of the Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival. The Canes are now 8-1.
Meanwhile, the Lady Canes finished the tournament on a winning note after defeating Woodland in the third-place game. They are now 8-2 and 3-0 in Region 5-AAA. The Lady Wildcats are 9-5 and 5-1 in their region. They lost two close games last week to Pepperell and Cartersville, two of the top three teams at the Holiday Festival.
The Woodland boys lost in the second round of the Holiday Festival and are now 6-7 on the season. The Wildcats have been victimized by numerous talented teams in treacherous Region 5-AAAAA and are 1-5 in the region.
The Adairsville girls basketball team has been steadily improving after a rough start and had won three consecutive games before playing Cartersville. The Lady Tigers are currently 3-6 and 2-1 in the region.
The boys team has similarly improved early in the year and head into the holiday break on a high note after defeating Pepperell 57-30. The win was especially impressive because Adairsville had lost to Pepperell by 15 points less than a month earlier. The Tigers went 1-1 in the holiday tournament and are now 6-3 on the season and 2-1 in Region 5-AAA.
The Cass boys basketball team also has been making strides as the season has progressed. After losing its first eight games, the squad has now won two of its last three. Meanwhile, the girls team is coming off a loss to Southeast Whitfield in their lone game this week and are now 5-6.
The Excel boys team competed in the Fannin County Christmas Tournament and won both of its games to take home the tournament championship. The games were the first two of Chad Parker’s coaching career after David Boyd and the program mutually parted last week. The Eagles are now 4-7.
Corey Tobin — Cartersville
Tobin scored 27 points in the championship game of the Rome News-tribune Holiday Festival on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, including seven 3s on his way to being named tournament MVP. Tobin had 21 points the previous game to lift Cartersville into the championship game.
Ryan Davis — Cartersville
Davis scored 24 in Cartersville’s first two games of the holiday tournament to lead the Canes to the championship game. He then scored 17 in the championship to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.
Caleb West — Excel
West has had a coming out party since Parker has taken over as the coach for the Eagles. He had his breakout performance against Hiwassee Dam out of Murphy, N.C., when he scored 31 points to lead Excel to the finals of the Fannin County Christmas Tournament.
Darius Thrower — Excel
Thrower scored 21 against Hiwassee Dam and is averaging over 20 points per game this season.
Kaelyn Irby — Cartersville
Irby averaged about 15 points per game in Cartersville’s three tournament games. She then followed those performances with 12 points, 10 assists and nine steals against Ringgold on Saturday.
Tyler Washington — Adairsville
Adairsville’s point guard went for 26 and 15 points in his two games in the holiday tournament. He added seven assists in the team’s victory over Pepperell.
Mallorie Collum — Adairsville
The Lady Tigers lost both games against quality opponents Woodland and Armuchee in the holiday tournament, but it was not because of lack of effort from Mallorie Collum. The senior had 18 points, 14 points in second half in her team’s Dec. 16 first-round loss against Woodland.
Lady Wildcats — Woodland
The team had two wins in the tournament against Model and Adairsville and lost to Pepperell and Cartersville. However, Woodland had four starters in double figures, Marissa Dubose, Aubri Branch, Ayrianna Metcalf and Katie Harris, demonstrating the team’s balanced scoring this season.