That showed Saturday night as Cass held on to a late fourth-quarter lead to defeat the Tigers by a score of 60-53 at Cass High.
“It’s good to get a win,” Scott said. “There’s no doubt, we’re better now than we were in November. Our record doesn’t always look like that, but we’re much improved over where we were.”
The contest was a back-and-forth affair throughout, but the Colonels were able to hold on thanks to a 20-point third quarter and some timely plays down the stretch.
“We got some timely defensive stops. We took care of the ball and hit open shots and free throws at the end of the game,” Scott said. “That’s the way you take care of a lead.”
Meanwhile, Adairsville head coach Kent Howard was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“Cass played a better game and deserved to win more than us,” he said. “If our seniors don’t start playing like a bunch of poor hungry dogs, we won’t win another game.”
Howard did not like his squad’s defensive performance in the first quarter as Cass put up 20 points in the first quarter on 9-of-12 shooting from the field.
Adairsville could not match the effort on the other end as the Tigers shot 7 for 17 from the field. Two 3s by Adairsville’s Tyler Washington and six turnovers by Cass kept Adairsville within four entering the second quarter.
The Tigers picked up their defensive effort in the second and third quarter and managed to tie the game entering the fourth despite senior center Sammie Frazier battling foul trouble throughout the game.
One reason Frazier was in foul trouble was because of the strong play of senior post player Justin Reed.
Reed had 16 points and 15 rebounds in the game, a day after his 18-point, nine-rebound effort against Pickens.
“He goes to war for us every night,” Scott said of Reed. “Most of the time he’s battling guys that are bigger than he is and he just continues to bang in there and do some of the dirty work that we need him to do.”
Reed had a big game, but Jordan Cothron was the Colonel to get hot in the fourth quarter. Cothron hit a 3 to open the scoring in the fourth quarter. He then hit a midrange jump shot to put Cass up 44-41.
After a two-minute scoring drought by each team, Washington would tie the game up at 44 with a clutch 3 of his own.
Cothron then stepped up with another 3 to give Cass the lead back with under four minutes to go in the game.
Cass would not relinquish the lead from there as Morning hit a 3 of his own with two and a half minutes left to put the Colonels up by six points. They would make four out of six free throws in the last two minuets to seal the game.
“The difference in the score might be some free throw shots. In the first half we were 5-for-12, in the second half we were [8-for-10],” Scott said. “Matt [Mundy] didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, but Jordan Cothron came up and hit some big shots and Keylon Woodard came off the bench and got some big rebounds tonight.”
Morning finished with 14 points for the Colonels and Cothron finished with 10, including eight in the fourth quarter.
For Adairsville, Washington was the leading scorer as he hit five 3s and finished with 21 points.
Cass is now 6-10 on the season and will go on the road to face Gilmer Tuesday in a region game.
Adairsville moves to 6-5 on the season and will match up against Coahulla Creek Tuesday on the road as the Tigers look to go 3-1 in their region.
Excel wins on big fourth quarter
The Excel boys basketball team trailed region opponent Gordon Lee throughout most of the first three quarters Saturday at Excel High.
The Eagles took command of the game early in the fourth quarter, however, as they used a 20-6 fourth-quarter run to even their region record at 1-1 and hand Gordon Lee a 56-49 loss.
“We’ve got a young team. We’re just trying to teach them how to play a full game,” Excel head coach Chad Parker said. “They were great defensively the whole second half, but especially the fourth quarter. They just really got after it. They played loose and aggressive and that’s what we’re trying to get them to focus on.”
Excel trailed by seven points entering the third and fourth quarters.
Frontcourt players Caleb West and Jack Bowers were both in foul trouble, leaving the Eagles short handed in their comeback efforts. Still, sophomore guard Darius Thrower managed to keep them in the game with 20 points and four 3s in the first three quarters.
Because of the foul trouble, Parker asked his team to play less aggressively and switched to a 2-3 zone in the second half.
“We were trying to stay out of foul trouble and keep guys in the game, so early on we were kind of laying back on defense and not being aggressive to keep everybody fresh,” Parker said.
The zone slowed down Gordon Lee in the third quarter, but as Excel became more aggressive on defense in the fourth quarter, Gordon Lee began to struggle mightily on offense.
The Trojans shot 1 for 13 in the fourth quarter and had five turnovers in the period.
“We finally got in attack mode and we were able to get after it on defense,” Parker said. “We just wanted to focus on winning the third quarter first. Then we said let’s win the fourth quarter.”
West finally was able to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter after dealing with foul trouble for most of the game. He had eight points in the fourth quarter.
Bowers also was able to overcome foul trouble to help his team defensively in the final period. He had four points, three rebounds and a block late in the game to contribute to the defensive effort.
Excel is now 4-7 on the season and will travel to Southwest Atlanta Christian for a challenging region contest on Tuesday.