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ROSWELL (GA) – The Chattahoochee Cougars gave a glimpse early on of how much they wanted to avenge last season’s loss at Centennial. But in the second half, their desire to do so became evident.
After turning a single-digit halftime lead into a double-digit advantage by the end of the third quarter, Chattahoochee completed its mission with an 87-67 road win over the Knights on January 12.
Chattahoochee’s all-time leading scorer and senior A.J. White led the way with 23 points and six assists while sophomore Tomiwa Adetosoye added 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Cougars (10-1) improve to 5-0 in region play.
“Losing here by one last year in overtime was our only loss after the Christmas break and that really stuck with some of our guys,” Chattahoochee coach Chris Short said. “I know AJ really had this one circled on his calendar because he wanted to perform better here and it obviously being a rival. We played really well the last time we were here but they played amazing last year and just beat us in overtime so it definitely was high on our list.”
After White found senior Keith Murray (eight points) for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the second quarter, White triggered a shift in the momentum with a pair of 3s, which sandwiched a steal and breakaway layin by Adetosoye, for a 51-40 score. The Cougars maintained that margin the rest of the frame and led 61-49 at the end of the quarter following a rebound and two-handed slam by Adetosoye.
“[Tomiwa] played his most complete game,” Short said. “He’s super athletic and can really jump.”
Chattahoochee put the game away early in the fourth with an 8-0 run for a 69-51 advantage. Junior Jordan Brown (16 points), who not only wears the number 23 jersey like Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams but operates offensively like him as well, started the decisive surge with one of his accurate mid-range jumpers.
“He’s really provided some consistent scoring,” said Short of Brown. “It adds that Cameron Sheffield piece that we had last year when we had four guys that could really score it. He adds that for us and it kind of frees up other guys to get their points too.”
Then Adetosoye capped the spurt with consecutive three-point plays.
Junior Gil Matondo, who had two dunks when the contest was essentially decided, scored 12 points.
In the first quarter, the Cougars didn’t appear very motivated by revenge, leading to an early deficit. But they closed the period with a 14-0 run, which included six points and two steals by White, for a 21-13 edge.
KJ Spooney led the Knights (9-3) with 13 points and fellow senior Logan Turner added 12 in the team’s first region loss. Sophomore Mansir Williamson scored 11 points and senior Julian Nixon had 10. Even though Kyle Duncan (eight points) didn’t reach double figures on the scoreboard, the senior grabbed seven rebounds and dished out a game-high seven assists to display his unselfishness and vision.