However, the Greyhounds were no match for Cartersville the way the Purple Hurricanes have been playing this season and it showed in Cartersville’s 69-43 victory Friday night in the first round of the Lake City Classic at Allatoona High.
“They’re solid. They can do a lot of things,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said of Pope’s team. “They do a lot of good stuff, a lot of half court sets that we saw. I thought we were prepared for it. They’re tough to defend, but I really felt like our effort was there.”
Coming off the break, some teams come out lethargic after being out of action. The Canes managed to come out strong and jumped out to an early 10-3 lead within the first 10 minutes. By the end of the first half, they were up by 19.
Cartersville was helped by getting Pope’s center, 6-foot-9 Drew Romich, into foul trouble in the first half. Without its center, Pope was out rebounded 19-9 in the first half.
“It helped us like crazy, the big kid getting three fouls. That was huge,” Tobin said. “[Rebounding is] something we really try to do. That’s one of my biggest pet peaves is when we don’t box out.”
The Canes got out to an 18-5 lead in the first five minutes, before going into a little bit of a scoring drought. Senior A.J. Mosby hit a 3 a minute and a half into the second quarter to break a nearly five-minute scoreless period.
At one point, Cartersville led by just five in the second quarter, but a Corey Tobin 3 extended the lead to eight. Tobin and Mosby then each took a steal coast to coast to extend the lead. Tobin and Ryan Davis then each hit 3s near the end of the quarter to give the Canes a 20-6 run over the final five minutes of the first half and 46-27 advantage heading into the locker room.
The second quarter was Cartersville’s worst defensively as the Canes gave up 16 points in the period.
“We tried to put a lot of pressure on the ball,” Tobin said of the defense. “[Pope] did try to go high-low with the big kids and [Garrick DeBowles] does a good job of posting up, so it really helped us having [Romich] in foul trouble.”
Cartersville came out strong in the third quarter to extend its lead. The Canes went on a 9-2 run in the first two minutes of the second half and brought the lead out to 30 points before too long.
Davis, with his two buckets in the third period, surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career as Cartersville coasted the final 10 minutes of the game to secure the victory.
Pope attempted to throw Cartersville off guard by switching in and out of different zone defenses, but the tactic was not successful.
Cartersville shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and had just seven turnovers in the game for an efficient offensive performance.
The Canes also hit nine 3s in the game to go along with an 8-for-9 conversion rate at the free throw line.
“At times I thought we [executed offensively]. Late in the game I thought we did. I mean it was almost to the point of being embarrassing,” Tobin said of the offense. “On the scale of 1-10, I’d probably give us an eight.”
The Canes were also helped by a 33-19 rebounding advantage in the game. Davis led the way with seven boards for Cartersville, but seniors Jalen McKeller, Hunter Benham and Hakeem Winters each had at least four rebounds and combined for seven offensive rebounds in the game.
Tobin was the leading scorer for Cartersville with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting and five 3s. Davis had 17 and Mosby had 12 points and six rebounds in addition to his suffocating defense on the perimeter.
Cartersville, now 9-1 on the season and 3-0 in the region, will play its next game tonight at 8:30 p.m., once again at Allatoona High in the Lake City Classic.