February 14, 2013

Area roundup: Northwest boys basketball state-bound

Kaleb King called this Northwest Whitfield High School boys basketball team the “fastest” he’s been on. The senior guard hopes that quality helps the Bruins going forward.

Northwest jumped to a 30-point first-half lead in an 82-59 victory against Pickens in the Region 7-4A tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at Dalton High School. The Bruins, the No. 1 seed from Sub-region 7B-4A, secured a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs with the win and will face River Ridge at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the region semifinals.

In Wednesday’s other boys quarterfinal, Sub-region 7A-4A champion Gilmer defeated Ridgeland 78-62 and will face Dalton at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The championship game is at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, while the consolation game is at 4:30 p.m.

The Bruins (21-3) were up 45-15 against the Dragons (9-18) halfway through the second quarter and 52-25 at halftime thanks to 16 turnovers by Pickens in the first half. In the final minute of the first quarter, Pickens turned the ball over five times and Northwest scored six quick points to grab a 24-9 lead.

“This is the fastest team we’ve ever had,” said King, who finished with eight points, six rebounds and three steals. “We’re quick. We have the ability to press the whole game.”

Dragons coach Brad Steinhauer also noted the Bruins’ team speed as a factor.

“They’re more athletic than we are,” he said. “They’re faster than we are. We had a tough time with that. ... They move quick from side to side, so long passes they were touching and short passes they were trapping. I felt like we were just overmatched.”

Northwest had 11 players score, with O’Shea Hill’s 16 points and 10 rebounds leading the way. He started the game with back-to-back offensive rebounds and layups.

“I thought he played really good in the post,” Bruins coach Ryan Richards said. “I thought he played good rebounding and scoring for sure.”

Northwest, which had only substitutes in by the middle of the third quarter, finished with 13 team steals and shot 33-for-62 from the field. Tanner Quarles added 11 points and five assists for the Bruins.

The Dragons finished 20-for-51 from the field and were led by Jacob Stephens’ 17 points.

Gordon Central girls 52, Coahulla Creek 39: The Lady Colts (7-19) saw their season end after a rough third quarter in the Region 5-3A tournament at Sonoraville High.

Coahulla Creek led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter and 20-18 at halftime, but Gordon Central held a 36-28 lead entering the final period.

“For three and a half minutes in the third quarter, they made a great run,” Lady Colts coach Ryan Long said. “Our intensity wasn’t there, our focus was lacking for about three and a half minutes and they made a 16-0 run there.”

Macey Fossett had 15 points to lead Coahulla Creek, while Hannah Locke added 14. The Lady Colts won six games in a row in the middle of the season after going winless last year and struggling at the start of this year.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Long said. “I think we found our identity. We’ve just got to play all four quarters of hard-nosed basketball. I think we made leaps and bounds this year by addressing what our roles are as basketball players. ... I think the future is bright.”

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe boys 73, Coahulla Creek 67: LFO senior Daniel Parrish poured in 27 points, all but nine in the fourth quarter, to thwart the Colts’ upset attempt in the first round of the Region 5-3A tournament at Sonoraville High.

The Warriors beat Coahulla Creek handily twice during the regular season, but Wednesday’s game was tied 11-11 after one quarter and Coahulla Creek led 34-24 at halftime and 51-39 entering the final period before LFO turned things around.

Jordan Tant had 17 points to lead Coahulla Creek, which finished its second season in school history with a 2-24 record after winning one game during 2011-12. Levi Wilson added 16 points and Michael Ward had 13.

Colts coach Matthew Queener was proud of his team’s final effort for the year.

“They played as hard as they could and did everything you could ask a team to do,” Queener said. “I think in the regular season, we can look back and say the guys left a lot on table and didn’t take advantage a lot of games, but this game our guys just played a great game.”

Dade County girls 47, Murray County 32: Ahead 10-8 after the first quarter and 23-20 at halftime, the Lady Indians (9-18) let their shot at a big upset in the second round of the Region 7-2A tournament slip away at Georgia Highlands College in Rome.

Dade County (21-5), which swept the home-and-home regular-season series with the Lady Indians, led 34-23 entering the final period and held off one more charge by Murray County.

“The first half, we were trying to do our best and run time off the clock,” Lady Indians coach Michael Hill said. “We’ve been struggling with scoring, so we tried to play great defense and keep running the clock. In the first half, they executed the game plan perfectly.

“We came out the second half and still executed great on defense, but on the offensive end we had a few turnover and just couldn’t buy a bucket. In the fourth quarter, we cut it to six but they hit a couple of 3s. We had to start fouling and they made their free throws.”

Holly Stanfield led Murray County with nine points.

Hill is optimistic about what’s ahead even though this season is over.

“If we can play this hard every game next year, we’ll be fine,’ Hill said. “I don’t have any seniors and I’ve only got three juniors. The rest are sophomores and freshmen, so we ought to be pretty tough next year.”

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