The team that has given the Canes its closest region game is Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, which lost to Cartersville by a score of 72-53 back on Jan. 10.
Tuesday’s game between Cartersville and LFO at the Storm Center was not quite as close as Cartersville won by a score of 80-46 to improve to 12-0 in region play.
“I was pleased with the effort,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “Coming into this game, [LFO] gave us the toughest game we’ve had this year apart from North Murray, the first half.”
Cartersville’s defense in the second half turned a fairly competitive game into a rout as LFO scored just 15 points on 5-of-29 shooting in the final two quarters.
“I was pretty pleased with that first quarter. We gave up 10,” Tobin said. “That second quarter we gave up  and I was a little disappointed in the second quarter, but take away that second quarter, and I thought we played well on defense.”
LFO hung around in the first five minutes and only trailed by three points. Cartersville would then go on a 7-0 run in the final two minutes of the first quarter thanks to three consecutive steals. Ryan Davis intercepted a pass and went the other way for a dunk for the first steal. LFO’s very next possession was interrupted when A.J. Mosby intercepted another pass and fed Davis for a corner 3-pointer. The Warriors then called a timeout, but to no avail, as Hakeem Winters stole the ensuing inbounds pass and put in the layup on the other end.
Thanks to the defensive surge, Cartersville led by a score of 18-10 at the end of one quarter.
The second period was not the team’s best effort defensively as LFO scored 21 points in the quarter. The Warriors had the lead down to three points with four minutes remaining in the first half.
It was then that Davis hit Corey Tobin on the right wing for a 3. Davis then connected with Tobin on the left wing for another 3 on Cartersville’s next offensive possession. Tobin returned the favor on the next trip down the floor when he swung the ball to Davis for a 3.
The hot shooting and opportunistic defense continued until the end of the half when Christian Demastus hit a top-of-the-key 3 with roughly 30 seconds on the game clock. Tobin then intercepted an LFO pass and scored on a fastbreak layup just before halftime to make the score 47-31.
One of the reasons the Canes had built a 16-point lead was the work on the offensive boards from Hunter Benham. The senior had nine rebounds in the first half, five offensive, and Cartersville outrebounded LFO 24-14.
“Hunter is relentless. He is a kid that, last year, was just trying to make the team. He’s always been one of those guys that nothing’s been given to him. He always works his tail off and kind of has a little chip on his shoulder,” Mike Tobin said. “You know he’s always going to go hard. We obviously have a lot of talent, but you have to have a guy like Hunter who is going to get down and dirty and bust his butt.”
It was in the second half that Cartersville’s defense took hold, allowing just seven points in the third quarter on 3-of-18 shooting from the field.
On the other end, Cartersville continued to put up points, led by A.J. Mosby, who scored 12 in the second half. LFO’s defensive strategy was to leave Mosby open and concentrate on Corey Tobin and Davis. However, the third member of Cartersville’s big three became hot in the
second half and shot 7-for-13 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line after the first quarter to finish with 20 points for the game.
“I was kind of surprised. I dont know if the scouting report was that [Mosby] can’t shoot, but they were totally off him. They do some funky things on defense. Obviously, their plan was to sag off of a couple of guys and let them shoot,” Mike Tobin said of LFO’s defense. “A.J. does a great job. He can drive and he can obviously shoot. I’m not sure what scouting report they got, but we told him at half, ‘If you’re open, catch and shoot.’ Early in the game, there was nobody within five feet of him.”
Thanks to Mosby’s efforts, Cartersville was able to cruise in the fourth quarter after building a 30-point lead in the third. Mosby was not the only one who had a high-scoring game. Corey Tobin also finished with 20 points and Davis had 17. Benham finished one point shy of a double-double with nine and 10 rebounds.
Cartersville’s next game is today at 7:30 p.m. on the road against North Murray, who is currently in fifth place in the region.
Adairsville 54, Sonoraville 27
The Tigers improved to 7-5 in the region Tuesday night at Sonoraville High.
Adairsville got off to a slow start but finished strong to pull away, according to Adairsville head coach Kent Howard.
“Both teams played hard but we were able to make shots against their zone in the third quarter,” he said.
Tyler Washington scored 19 points and “Sidnee Johnson and Sammie Frazier also played well,” according to Howard.
Adairsville will play LFO on the road Friday in its next game at 8:30 p.m.