Although the Dalton High School boys basketball team lost Friday night at home to unbeaten Gilmer, the team earned a lot of respect from the visitors.
“They’re the best team we’ve played,” said Gilmer guard Joe Bob Charles. “I knew that they had lost a lot of people (all of the starters from a year ago). I figured that they would have quick guards, but I didn’t know about their inside game. It turned out that they did have an inside game.”
Charles, who is headed to Young Harris College on a scholarship and posted a 49-point game earlier this season against Fannin County, settled for 34 in Gilmer’s 82-73 win at the Cats Den. The 6-foot-5-inch stalwart’s production included three 3-pointers and 7 of 8 free throws for the Bobcats (10-0).
“We were leading by nine points in the third quarter, and Joe Bob went on an 11-point run,” Dalton coach Mike Duffie said. “That’s what great players do. He’s probably the best player in our region.”
Dalton (2-1) displayed tremendous balance with five players scoring in double figures, led by post Emier Bowman with 21 points. Braxton Thomas contributed 16, followed by Jeffrey Brown and Chris Childs with 11 each. Lyle Durham finished with 10. Bowman also snagged a team-high 11 rebounds.
“It’s the best we’ve played by far, considering the competition,” Duffie said. “It was a great early season game. We were only playing our third game, and they were playing their 10th. Our main problem was giving up 17 offensive rebounds. We only got six.”
Dalton exploded to a 21-15 lead in the first quarter, keyed by five 3-pointers, with three coming from Brown and two from Childs. At halftime, the Cats maintained a four-point advantage, 41-37. The Bobcats were ahead going into the fourth, 64-61.
During the final period, Dalton twice pulled within three, the last time at 70-67 with 5:17 remaining.
Gilmer dominated the remainder of the way, 12-6.
“This is the closest game that we’ve had this year,” Gilmer coach Jordan Hice said. “They’re a very aggressive team. They gave us trouble on defense with that 1-3 trap.”
Charles received some quality scoring help from Corey Waters and Wheeler Laney who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Gilmer returned four starters from last year’s team which went 24-5 and advanced to the state tournament.
• Gilmer girls 57, Dalton 45: Gilmer scored 22 unanswered points in the first half to lead 27-5 and withstood a late Dalton rally.
“They (Lady Bobcats) put relentless pressure on us,” Dalton coach Lacie Coquerille said of that drought. “You have to give them credit. We fought back but never climbed the hill.”
Trailing 44-30 going into the fourth quarter, Dalton (2-2) pulled within seven points down the stretch.
Freshman Bowen Land, who came off the bench in the second quarter, had a team-high 12 points for the Lady Catamounts. Hannah Cox added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Gilmer (7-3) featured a game-high 17 points from Bailey Charles, and Hannah Jones contributed 10 points.
“We shot free throws better than we have this season (17-of-24),” Coquerille said. “That was a good sign.”
• Southeast Whitfield girls 61, Christian Heritage 48: Cricket Wyatt got into foul trouble in the second quarter, and Wendy Perez got sick. Both were better in the second half, and so were the Lady Raiders.
Wyatt hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as part of her 18-point night, and Perez posted career highs with 21 points and 17 rebounds as the Lady Raiders (5-3) overcame a 10-point third quarter deficit to beat the Lady Lions.
Wyatt picked up her third foul early in the second quarter, and coach Mike Durham said that Perez left the bench late in the first quarter and spent the second quarter in the locker room vomiting.
“The bottom line in the second half was that Wendy played, Cricket got hot and the rest of the team did their job a lot better,” Durham said. “We kept Wendy in the locker room in the second quarter and through most of the half, but she said she was going to try to play.”
Christian Heritage (1-7) led 27-20 at the half and stretched it to 30-20 in the third before Wyatt started hitting from outside and Perez took over in the paint. After Christian Heritage scored the first three points of the third quarter, Southeast outscored the Lady Lions 21-4 until the start of the fourth.
“(Perez) pretty much dominated,” Christian Heritage coach Heather Lowery said. “She hit easy buckets, and we didn’t do the best job blocking out. We just have to figure out what gets us going.”
Judelle Herrera added 11 points for the Lady Raiders, while Emily Beck pulled down 11 rebounds. For Christian Heritage, Sarah Massengale had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Alexis Poag finished with 10 points.
• Christian Heritage boys 67, Southeast 57: Four different players scored in double digits for the Lions, who avenged a loss to the Raiders from last weekend.
After falling behind 19-11 at the end of the first quarter, Southeast battled back to trail by a single point (29-28) at the half. But Christian Heritage steadily stretched things out in the second half before taking the 10-point victory. Southeast had taken a 64-60 win over the Lions on Dec. 6.
Cameron Locke led Christian Heritage (4-2) with 18 points and Jay Porter added 17. Will Jackson and Tyson Cooper each scored 10. Ty Pendley scored 18 to lead the Raiders, while Rhett Harper finished with 16 and Tyson Cooper added 10.
• Northwest Whitfield girls 50, East Ridge (Tenn.) 16: Even though the Lady Bruins (7-1) didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, they didn’t have to thanks to a defense that held East Ridge to single digits in each quarter.
Macy Weeks scored 13 points to lead 10 different Northwest players who scored while the team shot just 19 percent from the field. Peyton Maret had nine rebounds and Halle Ford finished with eight steals to lead the defense.
“We played very well defensively and shot horribly,” Northwest coach Greg Brown said. “I think that it is just a credit to our defense. If we are good defensively every night, we will have a chance to win no matter what we do offensively, and that proved tonight.”
• East Ridge boys 66, Northwest 64: The Bruins (2-3) took a 64-63 lead with less than a minute to play, but East Ridge hit a 3-pointer to retake the lead and Northwest couldn’t capitalize on two trips down the floor to tie or take the win.
Northwest was especially hurt at the free-throw line, going 4 of 11 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“We are just killing ourselves at the free throw line,” Northwest coach Ryan Richards said. “We got a ton better and grew up a lot tonight and that is good, but we just didn’t make those free throws.
Caleb Storey led the Bruins with 27 points, and Aaron Ball finished with 11.
• Calhoun girls 48, Murray County 30: Calhoun held the Lady Indians (2-6, 1-3 Region 7-2A) to just 11 points in the first half and cruised to the easy win. Murray County was limited to single-digit scoring in each of the first three quarters.
Caitlyn Sims led the Lady Indians with nine, followed by Catlyn Richardson with eight.
• Calhoun boys 64, Murray County 24: The Yellow Jackets bolted out to an 18-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and ran away with the win over the Indians. No players scored in double digits for Murray County (1-6, 1-2 Region 7-2A).
• North Murray JV girls 40, Coahulla Creek 14: Hannah Long scored 11 points and Tyree Walker finished with 10 to lead the Lady Mountaineers (3-0) to the win over the Lady Colts.
• Northwest JV boys 58, East Ridge 46: Cyrus Addison and Levi Mosteller each scored 11 to lead the Bruins (3-0).
• Christian Heritage JV girls 45, Southeast 34: Ashlyn Clements finished with a game-high 15 points, and Sydney Stafford added 11 to lead the Lady Lions (4-2). Southeast (3-2) was paced by Rana Mashburn’s six points and seven rebounds.
• North Murray split a pair of dual matches, winning 54-27 over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and falling 60-24 to host Ringgold.
Alex Gambino (113 pounds), Ruiz Velez (120) and Emmanuel Jacobo (285) all won both of their matches via pin for the Mountaineers (3-5).