Coach Matthew Queener wishes he had scheduled a scrimmage for Coahulla Creek High School’s boys basketball team.
Maybe then Monday’s result would’ve come two games sooner.
Coahulla Creek easily won 57-32 at home against Tennessee’s Polk County in a rematch from the Colts’ first game of the season a week ago, when they lost 44-33.
Coahulla Creek (1-2) led after each quarter and grabbed command as the first half closed. Ahead 15-10, Levi Wilson went the length of the court for a layup and a 17-10 Colts lead with 3:14 on the clock. That play sparked an 11-2 half-closing run that included back-to-back baskets from Dee McCord. Coahulla Creek led 26-12 at halftime and never let the difference fall to single digits after.
“We played them last week and lost by 11,” Queener said of the first game against Polk County (2-3). “I blame it on not playing a scrimmage game. We didn’t play one, so the first time playing in a live game was at their place.”
Leading 36-22 entering the final quarter Monday, Coahulla Creek put away the season’s first victory with outside shooting. Taylor Poteet made a 3-pointer for a 45-31 lead with 4:33 left, and Wilson sank another and followed with a steal and layup for a 53-28 edge with 2:31 remaining.
McCord scored 19 points and had four steals and immediately ignited the Colts’ offense when he entered the game midway through the first quarter. He made a baseline jumper with 25 seconds left in the opening period to give Coahulla Creek a 10-7 lead.
Wilson chipped in 13 points. Darius Miller grabbed seven rebounds. As a team, Coahulla Creek shot 21-for-60 from the field and only 4-for-22 from 3-point range.
“There’s a lot of stuff to work on,” Queener said. “You can tell it’s early season ball.”
Still, the team had 20 steals and the Colts’ defense forced even more turnovers. Polk County only shot 11-for-41 from the field and was outrebounded 38-25. Cody Groomes led the Wildcats with 11 points.
“Everything we did tonight was not where it needed to be,” Polk County coach Rusty Brewer said. “We rebounded poorly, shot the ball poorly and turned the ball over way too much. You can’t do that and win basketball games.”
• Polk County girls 57, Coahulla Creek 52: Ahead 46-40 with 5:14 remaining in the game, the Lady Colts (1-2) were unable to rebound from what happened over the next 45 seconds.
Polk County’s Isabella Liner made a 3-pointer, stole the ball and scored a layup in just a few seconds. On the next Coahulla Creek possession, the Wildkittens (4-1) forced another turnover and Shelby Lillard converted a layup and made one of two free throws after officials called an intentional foul on the Lady Colts’ Haley Reece.
“We were up pressing,” Polk County coach Johnny Hayes said, “and sometimes that causes those types of plays.”
With 4:29 on the clock, Polk County suddenly had a 48-46 advantage. The Wildkittens continued the run and grabbed a 57-48 lead from Liner’s two free throws with less than a minute to play.
“They converted well,” Coahulla Creek coach Ryan Long said. “We didn’t rebound well. They really beat us on the boards with offensive rebounds. It was a close game all throughout.”
Neither team ever led by more than nine points. Coahulla Creek trailed 13-11 after the opening quarter and 24-23 at halftime but led 37-36 entering the final period. Macey Fossett had a team-high 19 points, while Sydney Storey chipped in 12.
Liner led all players with 28 points.
• Northwest Whitfield girls 78, Rome 34: There have been some classic battles on the court between these two programs over the years, including some nail-biters in which who won had as much to do with who had the ball last as anything else.
This was not one of those games.
However, it was a fine night for the Lady Bruins, who were in control from the opening whistle to the final horn as they won their second straight game to start the season at the Rome Thanksgiving Classic.
“We struggled with (Rome) a couple of years ago and they beat us twice,” Northwest coach Greg Brown said. “Some of these kids remember that.
“We set the tempo from the beginning of the game and carried it all the way through. I was pleased with how hard all of our kids played from beginning to end.”
Macy Weeks had 18 points and six rebounds to lead Northwest, while Halle Ford and Bria Clemmons each added 12 points — Ford also had six assists and Clemmons made five steals — and Whitley Brooker chipped in 11 points.
However, everyone on the roster played and all but one scored for Northwest, which turned an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 41-21 margin by halftime. The Lady Bruins were up 63-31 entering the final period.
“Tempo was big on both ends of the floor tonight,” Brown said. “I thought that was the difference in the game. We played at a fast speed, which is how we want to play, and we were able to do that the whole game.”
Because of the threat of inclement weather, games will start earlier than originally scheduled today at the Rome Thanksgiving Classic. In its final game at the event, Northwest will take on Marietta at 1:30 p.m.
• Sonoraville boys 65, Morris Innovative 29: In the Tigers’ first varsity game, in the Sonoraville High School Thanksgiving Classic, Tevin Robertson had 13 points and Justin Scott scored eight.
Morris Innovative trailed 36-10 at halftime but coach Doug Peters said his team played much better in the second half.
“The effort was there,” he said. “We made a lot of mistakes. They improved on that in the second half. They played better and played quicker on defense. Our goal is to play better each game and each quarter, and they did that.”
The Tigers, who played a junior varsity schedule the past two years, won’t have a long wait to improve. They take on North Paulding at 6 p.m. today at the Classic.