WOODSTOCK - Etowah will be heading back to the second round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs after a 48-30 win over North Cobb Friday.
The Eagles (24-2) found themselves in a close game early, but they locked down defensively to allow just 20 points over the final three quarters and advance to face Wheeler.
“We wanted to start quick,” Etowah coach Jason Dasinger said. “I think we had a little bit of rust early, but they settled in. If we play how we played over the last three quarters, they’re a special group. I think they have a shot.”
Etowah took a 12-10 lead to the second and continued to play well offensively, outscoring the Warriors (14-13) 15-6 in the frame.
Jaxon Etter was the catalyst for the Eagles early, with 12 of his 16 points coming in the first half. Adrian Cohen added five of his 10 points before the break too, and Etowah held North Cobb to a pair of field goals in the quarter.
“That’s why we’re 24-2.” Dasinger said. “It’s because we play defense. Sometimes the offense is there, and sometimes, it’s not. We always play defense, though. If we keep playing defense like that, we have a shot.”
If there was a bright spot for North Cobb offensively, it was from 3-point range, where the Warriors made six of their 10 field goals.
Freddy Woods made a pair of 3-pointers to finish with a team-high seven points. Corey Davis also had a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points, while Nayari Dampier and Shota Suzuki each made one to finish with five and three points respectively.
“I think the biggest thing about (Friday’s) game is how good Etowah is,” North Cobb coach Terry Gorsuch said. “They’re hard to score against. They’re talented on offense. They have a lot of good players. I knew it was going to be a tough game either way. I thought we battled. I’m proud of my guys, but Etowah is a well-coached, talented team.”
While the Warriors were able to get some traction going from deep, Etowah was able to control the inside on both ends of the floor.
The Eagles held North Cobb big man Kevin Hester to just five points and one made field goal, while Julian Baldwin and Carter Ingersoll poured in 10 and eight points respectively on the other end.
“I think we did a great job,” Dasinger said. “We shut them down inside. Carter Ingersoll was really involved and did a great job on defense. We were able to exploit them on the wings too. That was big.”
6:00pm Thursday, February 22
Coach of the Year: Jason Dasinger
Player of the Year: Jaxon Etter
First Team: Adrian Cohen
Second Team: Julian Baldwin
Honorable Mention: Carter Ingersoll
Woodstock's Bryce Clark is defended by Etowah's Julian Baldwin
Adrian Cohen drives against Woodstock's Sid Mesumbe
ROSWELL — A strong first half paved the way as Etowah clinched a home game for the state playoffs and a trip to tonight’s Region 4AAAAAAA championship game with a 73-59 win over Woodstock on Thursday at Roswell.
The top-seeded Eagles (22-2) took a 27-14 lead after the first quarter and a 44-23 lead to the half before holding on in the second half to improve to 3-0 this season against the Wolverines (13-13).
Etowah will play the winner of Thursday night’s Roswell-Walton game for a shot at consecutive region titles.
“The first half might have been the best half of basketball we’ve played all year,” Etowah coach Jason Dasinger said. “Our communities get so into the game and build it up. I told them to ignore the hype and play how they play, and they did. The ball pressure, the intensity and the defense was all there.”
While Etowah did not have any huge runs before the break, there were enough smaller runs to build the lead.
The Eagles went on a 7-0 run in the first to go up 15-6. An 8-0 run between the quarters stretched the lead to 29-14, and a 9-0 run to end the half gave Etowah a 44-23 lead at the break.
“We preach every possession,” Dasinger said. “We firmly believe that, if we play every possession to the fullest of our ability, we cut out those runs. You don’t have any of those runs against you. The focus all year, and especially (Thursday), was to play every possession like it was our last.”
It was a balanced attack for Etowah as four players scored in double figures.
Jaxon Etter led the way 22 points, while Julian Baldwin added 16. Carter Ingersoll added 10, while Nick Nagy scored all 10 of his points in the first half to help grow the lead.
Adrian Cohen also added nine points to squash any hopes of a comeback, though Woodstock did come back in the second half.
Two days after scoring a county-record 49 points in the Wolverines’ win over Cherokee, Noah Frith had 18, with 14 in the second half. Dylin Hardeman, who surpassed the 1,000-point milestone for his career, had 17 of his game-high 23 points after the half.
After trailing by 21 at the half, Woodstock outscored Etowah 36-29 over the final two quarters and got as close as 14 in the fourth, but it could not climb out of the early hole.
“We got outplayed in every facet of the game,” Woodstock coach Kingston Clark said. “We didn’t show up for the first half. I wanted us to show a little more intensity in the second half, and I think we did. It got to the point where we were trading baskets with them, but you can’t do that when you’re down 21.”
Tusculum commit Adrian Cohen and Claremont McKenna commit Carter Ingersoll attend NCAA National Signing Day. Congratulations boys!
WOODSTOCK — Adrian Cohen scored 18 points as Etowah held off a late Creekview comeback to win 60-51 on Saturday in a matchup of Cherokee County’s top two teams.
The win snapped the Grizzlies’ 14-game win streak and came less than 24 hours after Etowah (16-2) had its own 15-game win streak snapped by Walton.
“It meant a lot for our seniors,” Etowah coach Jason Dasinger said. “We just wanted to win on senior night. (Friday) night, we wanted to win because it was a big region win, but (Saturday) was about our seniors. I know it’s a nice matchup, but we wanted to win for those eight guys.”
It looked like another slow start early on for Etowah, as Creekview attacked the basket and scored its first four field goals in the paint to take a 10-4 lead.
Etowah’s offense woke up, though, and Julian Baldwin scored 10 points in the frame to give the Eagles a 17-15 lead heading into the second, when they broke the game open.
Creekview’s Paxton Nayman got the quarter’s first basket to knot the game at 17-all, but the Eagles outscored the Grizzlies 16-1 the rest of the quarter to take a comfortable 33-18 lead into the break.
“It was defensive intensity,” Dasinger said. “We started pressuring their wings a little more. We created some turnovers, and it led to some easy offense.”
With the game in danger of slipping out of reach, Creekview came out of the locker room with renewed intensity, outscoring Etowah 18-17 in the third.
Though the improved play did not show much on the scoreboard in the third, Creekview began to chip away at the lead in the fourth.
Grayson Baker scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the quarter, as Creekview forced seven turnovers and got the deficit as close as 52-48 with 4:17 to play, though it proved to be too much to overcome.
“We just killed ourselves in that second quarter,” Creekview coach Casey Gramling said. “We’re really trying to focus on playing complete games. That’s one of our mottos this year. It was just disappointing to see us play scared for that stretch. I haven’t seen that in a while from us.”
Though the Eagles were far from perfect in the fourth quarter, Dasinger liked how they responded to the challenge. After having its lead cut to four, Etowah scored the game’s next eight points to put the game away for good.
“We knew they would make a run,” Dasinger said. “We told them, no matter how much we go up, they can come back. They made their run, and we survived it.”
Baldwin finished with 16 points, while Carter Ingersoll added nine.
For Creekview, Nayman joined Baker in double figures with 11, while leading scorer K.J. Jenkins was held to just nine.
Etowah will look to start another winning streak Tuesday when it plays Woodstock. Creekview will play again Monday with a trip to South Forsyth, where Gramling hopes his team will learn from its first loss since November.
“That’s a good team,” Gramling said. “I’m glad we got to play them. They’re long. They can all shoot it, and they play good defense. I think we saw a little more of what we need to do.”
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