Cass’ win streak comes to an end
Ironically, the Cass boys basketball team has played far better on the road this season. The Colonels had won five of their last six games heading into Friday with all the wins coming on the road and the one loss coming at home.
That trend continued Friday night as Cass lost a sub-region home game to Pickens by a score of 52-51 to move to 0-7 at home this year and 5-10 on the season.
“For whatever reason, we haven’t played as well at home as we have on the road this year,” Cass head coach Greg Scott said. “Our effort was not as fast paced, not as hard, as it was when we played on the road.”
Cass shot over 51 percent on the game from the field and held Pickens to 43 percent shooting, but 19 turnovers and a 2-for-7 performance at the free throw line allowed the Dragons to steal the victory.
The Colonels had their chances, however. Down three points with less than a minute remaining in the game, Cass came out of a timeout and exhibited excellent ball movement as the team passed the ball around the perimeter for an open 3-point shot by marksman Jordan Morning on the right wing. Morning hit two 3s earlier in the game, but could not connect with less than a minute remaining.
The Colonels would get another chance at a 3 with 3.6 seconds remaining in the game and the team down by one. After a Pickens timeout, Scott drew up a baseline out-of-bounds play and his team executed. Matt Mundy, who has been one of Cass’ top 3-point shooters this season, was able to get loose at the top of the key. Despite the good look at the hoop, Mundy’s shot rattled out to give Pickens the victory.
“I’m definitely satisfied with the looks,” Scott said of his team’s end-of-game execution. “You get 3.6 seconds and a wide open shot at it with a guy who’s been shooting it pretty well, we’ll take that.”
Cass jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter and looked to still be riding the momentum from its four consecutive victories.
The Colonels went up 13-5 after the first quarter thanks to three consecutive baskets by senior Justin Reed in the post toward the end of the period. Meanwhile, Pickens did not score a field goal until five minutes into the game.
The second quarter would be a different story as the Dragons scored 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 5 of 6 at the free throw line. As a result, Cass trailed by a score of 29-28 at halftime.
According to Scott, Pickens’ zone defense was a factor in Cass losing its lead in the second quarter.
“I thought when they went zone, the pace of the game favored them. I thought we did well when we were running up and down,” he said. “The second quarter they slowed us down, in the third quarter they went back to man, and in the fourth quarter they went back to zone.”
Pickens went into the fourth quarter with a three-point advantage and the Dragons’ zone defense caused a cold spell for the Colonels. Cass was unable to score its first basket until two and a half minutes into the period and Pickens took a 47-41 lead.
Morning then took it upon himself to spark the team on offense as he split a double team near the top of the key, drove to the basket and dished off to Reed for a basket and a foul. Two plays later he drove to the basket and finished with a high arcing bank shot for an and-1 play, but missed the free throw. Still, his two plays brought Cass within one point at 47-46.
After Pickens’ Clay Wigington hit a long 2-pointer on the other end, senior co-captain Kelin Wells responded with a 3 to tie the game at 49.
After each team failed to come away with points in their next possession, Tyler Urlaub hit a 3 to put Pickens up by three with 1:06 remaining.
Cass called a timeout, which led to Morning’s open look to tie the game.
Pickens rebounded the miss, but Cass was able to force a turnover and get the ball back. Morning then drove and dished to Reed once again to bring Cass within one point with 23 seconds left.
Cass then fouled and the Dragons could not convert on the one-and-one, giving the ball back to the Colonels. However, Cass could not get a good shot off until the last out-of-bounds play, setting up the final unsuccesful play for the Colonels.
“We had some open looks and missed a free throw there in the fourth quarter when we had a chance to tie it on a three-point play,” Scott said. “This is a tough loss. It’s a sub-region loss. It’s the first game and we get another shot at [Pickens], but it’s at their place.”
Morning finished with 10 points and four assists while Reed had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead the Colonels.
Their next game will come tonight at home in a rematch with Adairsville. The Tigers took the first meeting at Adairsville High on Nov. 23 by a score of 46-34.
Canes take care of business
Cartersville has played much tougher competition in its out-of-region schedule than the team will see in Region 5-AAA play.
That was evident as the Canes took command early of their game with region opponent Coahulla Creek Friday night at the Storm Center and cruised to an 82-36 victory.
“We came out fast. We had a real good first quarter,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said after the game. “Last year we didn’t get off to a good start against them, so I think they probably wanted to get off to a really good start tonight.
“Those are the types of teams that can bite you if you let them hang around.”
According to Tobin, Coahulla Creek struggled with the full-court pressure the Canes were employing. As a result, Cartersville got off to a 24-8 first-quarter lead.
The lead would only increase from there as Cartersville improves to 11-2 on the season and 4-0 in region play.
Corey Tobin had 22 points and Ryan Davis added 21 to lead the Canes. A.J. Mosby and Hunter Benham also scored in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.
“We want to get the No. 1 seed in the region, win the region tournament and host a game in the state tournament,” Tobin said. “If we play like we did today, then we’ll have a pretty good chance.”