The Cartersville boys showed plenty of progress in their third game of the season, but Wednesday’s consolation matchup against Darlington also proved there is still plenty of room for improvement.
A fast start allowed the Canes to hold a comfortable lead for almost the entirety of their 71-49 victory in the Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Christmas Tournament at Georgia Highlands College.
The wire-to-wire win was a much better display than Cartersville’s previous two outings — losses to North Paulding and Model — but sloppiness on both ends of the court will give the Canes plenty to work on ahead of Saturday’s rivalry clash with Woodland.
“Team played hard tonight,” Cartersville head coach Mike Tobin said. “Loved to see us winning most of the 50-50 balls.
“We have lots of work to improve. I feel like we can be a very good team by the start of region.”
It took less than a full quarter for the Canes (1-2) to gain control of the game. A swarming defensive effort led to plenty of transition opportunities, some of which were converted and some of which were spurned.
The Tigers (4-6) were within 8-4 in the opening exchanges before facing a 22-10 deficit after one period. Cartersville outscored Darlington by an identical 22-10 margin in the second quarter to take a 44-20 advantage into halftime.
Eight different Canes scored in the half. Robert Novak led the way with nine of his 11 before the break. Jynerieus Stanley had seven points in the half, while Kolbe Benham and Marquail Coaxum had six apiece.
As Cartersville began to sub more frequently, Darlington finally found a foothold in the game. The Canes, though, still managed a 17-13 scoring edge in the third quarter. A lot of that was thanks to point guard Kam Callahan, who dropped in six of his 11 points in the period.
Darlington cut into the deficit in the final stanza to make the final score more respectable. Even still, Cartersville senior Micah Tart put up five of his game-high 13 points over the final eight minutes to close out the easy win.