By Dave Gordon
It took Dalton High’s boys basketball team nearly a quarter to get things rolling Friday night in its Sub-region 7B-4A opener.
Once the Catamounts took off, though, Heritage-Catoosa did little to counter.
The Cats went on a 10-2 run at the beginning of the second quarter and ran away with a 74-54 win over the Generals at the Cats Den.
In the earlier girls game, the Lady Cats built a 22-point lead midway through the third quarter and held off a late charge by the Lady Generals for a 69-59 win.
Dalton’s boys led 20-16 after the first quarter before settling in for a commanding effort, and coach Mike Duffie wasn’t sure what kept the Cats (10-3) from getting going even earlier.
“I really don’t know why,” coach Mike Duffie said of his team’s slow start. “It wasn’t anything we were doing wrong, we just weren’t making the shots. Early, we forced 10 turnovers in the first 10 possessions and only scored four points. We were just missing. I don’t know if we were trying too hard or what. We’re going to have to get over that.”
Alex Bautista jump-started Dalton’s run in the second quarter with a jumper off the glass in the lane, then followed with a 3-pointer on Dalton’s next possession to build the lead to nine. After a Heritage (5-8, 0-1) layup on the other end, Bautista found teammate Braxton Thomas for an open look on the fast break, resulting in a three-point play to push the edge to 10 with 4:34 to go in the half.
The Cats increased their advantage to 20 by halftime and extended it to 26 by the end of the third quarter. While this was the first league matchup of the season between the two teams, Dalton beat Heritage 77-63 at the Farm Bureau Christmas Classic last month.
“We didn’t really match their intensity very well in the first half and it got out of hand pretty quick on us,” Heritage coach Kevin Terry said. “They changed up the press from last game, and that messed us up a little bit. Credit Dalton for taking us out of it.”
Bautista led all scorers with 23 points, while guard Rico Mears filled up the stat sheet, contributing six points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
• Dalton girls 69, Heritage 59: The early game played out very similar to the late contest, as the Lady Cats (11-4, 1-0) took an eight-point lead at halftime and capitalized off Heritage turnovers to extend that margin to 22 points with a little more than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Heritage went on a scoring spurt of its own to cut the lead to 10 with 6:20 left, resulting in a timeout by the Lady Cats.
“I knew we needed to make less turnovers and handle the ball a little bit better,” coach Jeff McKinney said of the Lady Generals’ late run. “We needed to make sure we were guarding the shooters. We made a few adjustments and extended our lead a little bit.”
Following the timeout, Maddie Howell drained a long 3-pointer from the left wing to push Dalton’s lead to 60-47 with 5:35 left. Heritage got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
The Lady Generals (11-3, 0-1) committed 19 turnovers, and Heritage coach Eddie Bryan was surprised the number was that low.
“It seemed like we had 30 turnovers,” Bryan said. “We had only been averaging nine turnovers coming into the game, but we knew Dalton would bring the pressure.
“They did what they had to do to take us out of everything,” he said. “If you break it down to the half-court game, we did well but gave up too many offensive rebounds. Combined with the turnovers, you’re not going to win many games.”
Howell finished the game with 22 points, Carson Sharp added 17 points and senior guard Brooke Thomas had 15 in a balanced attack for the Lady Cats.
• North Murray boys 77, Sonoraville 39: Zach Vess scored 24 points and Brady Swilling added 12 for the Mountaineers (13-1, 4-0 Region 5-3A) as they picked up their 12th straight victory.
North Murray led 19-6 after the first quarter, 40-20 at halftime and 62-31 after three quarters.
• Sonoraville girls 59, North Murray 41: Erin Robinson led the Lady Mountaineers (12-4, 2-2 Region 5-3A) with 10 points in the loss, while Kara Deal added nine points and Megan Pittman tallied seven.
North Murray went 1-for-6 from the free-throw line, while Sonoraville went 14-for-21. The Lady Mountaineers were called for 14 fouls; the Lady Phoenix were called for four.
• Northwest Whitfield boys 53, LaFayette 49: Tevin McDaniel led the Bruins (11-3, 1-0 Sub-region 7B-4A) with 13 points, while Tanner Quarles had 11. Caleb Storey and O’Shea Hill added nine points.
Tanner Bailey had eight points and 12 rebounds.
The game was tied 17-17 after one quarter, but Northwest led 30-27 at halftime and 43-38 after three quarters.
• Northwest girls 60, LaFayette 49: The Lady Bruins let a 26-19 halftime lead slip away quickly in the third quarter, but they recovered soon after and kept a double-digit cushion on their way to the Sub-region 7B-4A victory in LaFayette.
Halle Ford had 12 points and six assists for Northwest (10-5, 1-0), while Kaitlin Wade added 10 points and five rebounds. Autumn Blackwell chipped in 10 points, while Macy Weeks had nine points and five steals.
• Southeast Whitfield boys 73, Ridgeland 71: Devin Gentry had 10 points in a 30-point third quarter for the Raiders (2-12), who started the new year by winning their Sub-region 7B-4A opener on the road.
Southeast trailed by three points at the half, but took off with a 30-12 third quarter in which the Raiders made only one 3-pointer.
Gentry led the way with 22 points, while Bryce Middlebrooks and Chaz Payne scored 17 and 16 points, respectively.
• Southeast girls 55, Ridgeland 49: Megan Collins scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Lady Raiders (8-5, 1-0 Sub-region 7B-4A).
Tavi Parris added 11 points, while Cricket Wyatt tallied nine. Wendy Perez had seven points and seven rebounds.
• Excel Christian Academy boys 84, Christian Heritage 51: The Lions (4-4) dropped their Sub-region 6A-A opener despite 22 points from Will Patterson and 11 from Michael McKinney.
• Christian Heritage girls 70, Excel Christian Academy 61: Sarah Massengale scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Lions (5-9) to a road win in their Sub-region 6A-A opener.
Rebecca Leonard scored 23 points, while Drew Tipton added 13 for Christian Heritage, which led at each quarter break — 18-7 after the first, 30-21 at halftime and 49-38 entering the final period.
• Cartersville boys 77, Coahulla Creek 32: The Colts (0-11) fell to 0-4 in Region 5-3A. Coahulla Creek coach Matthew Queener did not have statistics available to report.
• Cartersville girls 62, Coahulla Creek 41: Macey Fossett led the Lady Colts (0-11, 0-3 Region 5-3A) with 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss, while Hannah Locke added 10 points.
• Christian Heritage JV boys 46, Excel Christian Academy 30: Chase Tidwell scored 14 points for the Lions (8-3), while Evan Townsend added 12 points and Tyler Tipton scored eight.
• Coahulla Creek JV girls 47, Carters-ville 30: Anna Cline led the Lady Colts (6-2) with 12 points and seven rebounds. Sami Newsome added 12 points, while Erin Harden chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds.
• North Murray JV boys 57, Sonoraville 37: Hinton McConkey led the Mountaineers (3-0) with 10 points and Drake McGowen added nine.
• Northwest JV boys 57, LaFayette 51 (OT): The Bruins (8-2) trailed by 16 in the fourth quarter but rallied to force overtime. Ty Pendley led Northwest with 24 points, while Jamon Horne added 16.
• Northwest JV girls 60, LaFayette 20: Karli Williams and Lexi Storey each scored 16 points — Storey also had four steals — and Peyton Maret chipped in 10 points as the Lady Bruins rolled to their eighth win in nine games this season.
• Dalton’s boys won a three-team meet at the Cobb Civic Center, scoring 196 points to finish ahead of Class 5A’s Sequoyah (165) and Class 6A’s Etowah (138).
The Lady Cats finished with 81 points and took third behind Etowah (271) and Sequoyah (158).
Individual results were not available by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.