The home team on the scoreboard shot the lights out in the nightcap of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament's opening round Monday inside The Storm Center. Unfortunately for the host Canes, due to being …
The home team on the scoreboard shot the lights out in the nightcap of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament's opening round Monday inside The Storm Center.
Unfortunately for the host Canes, due to being the lower seed, they were the designated visitors and suffered a 61-45 defeat to Blessed Trinity.
With the result, fifth-seeded Cartersville's season comes to an end. Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Blessed Trinity advances to Wednesday's semifinals to face top-seeded Cass, while simultaneously punching a ticket to the Class 5A state tournament.
“We played hard all season,” Canes head coach Mike Tobin said. “It’s just frustrating that we were not hitting our shots, because we’ve got some guys who are really capable of hitting some shots. They just weren’t tonight.”
Cartersville wound up connecting just five times from behind the arc. On the other side, Blessed Trinity, which is ranked No. 9 in 5A by MaxPreps, had more than double that number, including four in the first quarter en route to an early 20-5 lead.
Region player of the year, Jax Bouknight connected on six 3-pointers. He hit four in the first half, when the Titans held a 30-13 advantage. The senior buried a key trey in the closing seconds of the third period to help his side maintain a 48-33 lead heading into the final stanza.
“That was a tough draw in the first round,” Tobin said. “But if we could have taken care of business in our last three regular-season games, we wouldn’t have been in this situation.
“Obviously, we would have had to play a really good game to beat those guys. In the first half, I don’t know that we’ve played much worse all year. … Disappointing way to finish the season, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that team wins the whole region.”
Senior Amarai Orr and junior Kam Callahan each finished with a dozen points to lead the Canes (8-12).
“I’m extremely proud of them,” Tobin said of his seniors. “They’ve worked their tails off. They’ve got bright futures.
“Just hate to see it end this way. Everyone has to lose eventually — except for the champions at the end — but we were hoping to be playing Wednesday, Friday and so on.”
Calhoun 68, Woodland boys 35
The sixth-seeded Woodland boys were unable to mount a serious upset bid of No. 3 seed Calhoun in the first round of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament Monday at Cartersville High.
Even still, the Wildcats put together one of their better region performances in a 68-35 season-ending defeat.
Woodland (3-22) stayed within 20-9 after one period before Calhoun got out to a 43-19 halftime advantage. The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 63-27 entering the final period.
Typically an inside-out team, Calhoun didn't have to worry too much about shooting from the perimeter Monday. In fact, the Jackets made just a single 3-pointer in each period, because Dylan Faulkner, who posted 18 points, and his teammates were having their way in the paint.
“They killed us in the first half with second-chance points on those easy buckets inside and those tip-ins from the big guys,” Woodland head coach Jacob Selman said. “We were able to kind of frustrate them on the first shot, but those second-chance points really hurt us that first half.”
Offensively, the Wildcats, who were led by K.J. Rogers' 10 points, had success when they got the ball inside. However, perhaps due to fear of being swatted by the 6-foot-7 Faulkner, Woodland settled for mostly unsuccessful outside shots throughout much of the opening half.
“We don’t shoot the ball very well, so I told my guys at halftime, ‘You have to keep getting the ball inside. You have to keep driving into the paint,’" Selman said. “... We just don’t shoot the ball well from the outside, really haven’t all year long. We have a few spurts here and there, but a majority of the time, we don’t shoot the ball well.
"That’s something we’re definitely going to be working on in the offseason is our shooting ability and our outside shot.”
While the team's final record wasn't what any player or coach would have wanted, Selman believes just being able to have a season could prove beneficial for the Wildcats moving forward.
“I think the season went better than what anybody would have thought, as far as COVID goes,” he said. “We were able to play 24 games, plus a region tournament game. …
"For us to play somewhat of a normal season, I think it’s huge for the growth of our program.”
The Woodland girls basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 62-24 loss to Calhoun in the first round of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament Monday at Cartersville High.
Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Calhoun advances to face second-seeded Hiram in Wednesday’s semifinals. More importantly, the Yellow Jackets qualified for the Class 5A state tournament with the victory.
A 23-0 run that spanned almost 8 minutes of game time allowed Calhoun to gain full control in the first half.
Down 18-2 at the end of the first quarter, sixth-seeded Woodland (2-20) found itself in a 39-11 hole midway through the game. For comparison, in the teams’ most recent meeting, Calhoun held just a 16-9 edge at halftime.
“They shot the ball fairly well at times,” Wildcats head coach Kyle Morgan said of the Jackets. “But we allowed them to shoot it however many times they needed to make it. I thought they absolutely annihilated us on the boards. … They did an excellent job at pushing in transition, and we did a terrible job of transition defense.
“Give them all the credit. They took it to us in all levels.”
Despite sitting out the opening 5 minutes for undisclosed reasons, Woodland senior Jordan Thompson (13 points) produced more than half of her team’s offense.
“They’re definitely going to be missed,” Morgan said of his team's five seniors. “I hope that whatever they have in store for the rest of their lives, they take something they learned from the game of basketball at Woodland High and apply it in a positive manner. …
“For the younger kids, we’ll take this as an opportunity to learn, invest in their games and get better, so maybe next year, we’ll have a little bit different experience as far as wins and losses are concerned.”