On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, Walton High School hosted the Region 4-7A basketball tournament. Representing Cobb County School District were the Walton boys and girls teams, as well as the Lassiter girls and boys teams.
The Lassiter girls were the first game of the evening, taking on the Roswell Hornets. The Trojan girls had a rough season, managing just a single win during their regular schedule and were looking to end on a high note.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Trojans, and the Hornets took advantage, jumping out to a double digit lead at halftime. Halfway through the third quarter the Hornets extended their lead to 23 points, but there was no quit in the Trojans, fighting to within 15 points early in the fourth quarter. The Hornets proved to be too focused, not allowing Lassiter to capitalize off momentum shifts. The Hornets ended the Trojans season, 44-72.
Next up, the Trojan boys were matched with the Walton boys for the third time this season. The Raiders won the previous two games, and Head Coach Bo Abney had his team prepared. The Raiders blanked the Trojans in the first quarter, shutting them out 0-18 with strong boarding and sloppy shooting from Lassiter.
The first Trojan points came with a dead-on accurate three-point shot early in the second quarter. This shot from behind the arc seemed to spark something in the Trojan offense and ultimately led to a 19-point second quarter. Lassiter’s defense held the Raiders to 10 points in the second and cut Walton’s lead to nine by halftime.
Coach Abney was able to get his team back on track in the third, posting a 19-point quarter of their own. A foul-riddled fourth quarter slowed play down enough where neither team was able to get much going, and the game ended with Walton up by 20 points, 44-64. The Raiders move on to play the Etowah Eagles on February 6.
“Our team has been resilient all year,” Coach Abney said. “We may not always be the most talented team on the court, but collectively we do a lot of little things to help us succeed. Extremely happy for our 3 seniors who have been in our program since 6th grade. For them to go to the state tournament for 3 straight years is a huge accomplishment. The Eagles are very well-coached, play hard, and play great defense, so it will be a challenge. Both of our regular season games were close, so I don’t expect anything different Thursday.”
The Lady Raiders were up next taking on Etowah themselves. The Eagles were seeded fifth, and the Raiders fourth, and the teams had each beat the other once in regular-season play. Everyone was expecting a tight game, and that’s exactly what they got. After two back and forth quarters, the Eagles sank a buzzer-beater lay-up to take a 5-point lead into halftime, 25-20.
A sloppy third quarter from the Eagles gave the Raiders an opportunity to sneak into the lead, ending the third quarter up by a single point, 32-33. However, any momentum the Raiders may have had was all but gone in the fourth quarter. Walton managed to drop only four points the entire quarter, and the Eagles regained the lead, and the game, moving on to play region-leader Cherokee on Thursday.
Congratulations to the Walton Boys for their win, and congratulations for hard-fought seasons to both Lassiter teams and the Walton girls. Next season will be here before you know it…