However, the Purple Hurricanes made several plays down the stretch and hit some big shots to win by a score of 82-77 at Cartersville High to move on to the second round.
“The bottom line is, it wasn’t anything surprising,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said of the close game. “The positive is, I was proud of how hard we played.”
Cartersville’s highest lead was 10 points and the Canes led throughout the game, but White County mounted a run and took a three-point lead with 4:20 remaining in the game.
It was then that Cartersville’s big three of A.J. Mosby, Corey Tobin and Ryan Davis began to take over and will their team to victory.
In the fourth quarter, immediately following White County taking its three-point lead, Mosby sparked the Canes when he got into the lane on back-to-back possessions, finding Bryce Gober for layups on each to retake the lead.
White County would retake it themselves, but Tobin responded with a cold-blooded 3 to put his team back on top by two points.
White County tied the score a few possessions later thanks to some Jordan Egerton free throws.
However, Davis would break the tie on Cartersville’s next opportunity when he connected on a crucial 3 with two minutes left to take a 3-point lead.
Mosby added two free throws the next possession after driving to the basket. Gober then found Davis underneath the basket for the hoop and the foul two possessions later. The three-point play helped the Canes take a five-point advantage with under one minute remaining.
White County’s comeback attempt was abruptly stopped on the next play when Gober stole the ball and went the other way for the breakaway layup to take a seven-point lead with 45 seconds left.
The score all but iced the tightly contested game in Cartersville’s favor after the thrilling fourth quarter.
“I was proud that we got down by three late in the game, so we battled back,” Tobin said. “We made some big 3s down the stretch, Corey hit that 3, Ryan hit a big 3. What I thought we were doing early on is, I thought we were forcing the issue instead of making the extra pass. That’s where we’ve been solid all year. When we made that extra pass we were solid.”
Cartersville executed down the stretch, making 9-of-16 shots in the final period to pull off the win.
However, Cartersville’s offensive performance was not its cleanest and several turnovers allowed White County to hang around in the second, third and early in the fourth quarter.
“I was real disappointed in us being out of control. We had a ton of turnovers,” Mike Tobin said. “We knew what they were going to do and we didn’t do a good job offensively. We scored a lot of points but we should have had over 100 if we took care of the ball.”
Cartersville turned the ball over nine times in the second quarter and 10 times in the second half, but the team tightened up late. The Canes had just one turnover in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game.
Starter Hakeem Winter was unavailable because of a scheduling conflict, while Hunter Benham and Mosby fouled out of the game. As a result, Cartersville played the final two minutes with just two available starters.
Despite dealing with foul trouble, Benham had 20 points and 11 rebounds to go along with some important defensive plays in the second half. Meanwhile, Gober started in place of Winters and scored five points in the final quarter.
Davis led all scorers in the game with 21 points and Mosby scored 17 points to go along with 11 assists and three steals.
Cartersville’s next game will come Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Storm Center against St. Pius. The Golden Lions eliminated the Cartersville football team in the second round of the state tournament in the fall.
Alexander 82, Cass 28
Alexander is one of the best teams in Class AAAA and it showed Saturday in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it as they ended Cass’s season at Alexander High.
“They are as good as advertised,” Cass head coach Greg Scott said.
Justin Reed was the leading rebounder and the leading scorer for the Colonels with eight points and 13 rebounds.