The Tigers winning streak extended to six games after a 67-50 victory against region opponent North Hall on Friday, Jan. 29.
Joakeim Celestin led with 24 points and both Jake Craft and Jaden Gibson scored 15 points individually. Craft and Celestin both started off red hot, combining for 20 points in the first half. Gibson scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
This was one of the best defensive performances of the season, according to Tigers head coach Todd Cottrell. And the stat sheet agrees with him. The Tigers stole the ball 15 times in the game and blocked eight shots, five of those from Celestin.
“We always want to be a really good defensive team and I think we have been lately,” Cottrell said. “There are a lot of little things we need to clean up.”
Rebounds poured in for the Tigers on Friday night, with 32 as a team. Max Tierny was the only Tiger in double-digits with 12 rebounds, but eight other Tigers came down with a rebound.
Leading 29-18 at halftime, Celestin took control of the offense at the start of the second quarter, scoring the first four points on two breakaway dunks. That began a 9-0 run that helped push the Tigers ahead.
The six-game win streak started after the Tigers’ worst loss of the season against White County, losing by over 30 points at the end of the third quarter. Now, the Tigers are second in region 7-3A.
“I think sometimes you have to have a bad performance to see where you are collectively,” Cottrell said. “I think our guys looked and saw that when we play like we play, we can beat people. I like where we are right now. The best way I can see it is that we’re comfortable with rotations and what we want to do. They just go out there and want to compete.”
The Tigers travel to Cherokee Bluff High School for their next game on Tuesday, Feb. 2. If the Tigers are victorious, they lock in the number two seed headed into the region tournament that starts on Feb. 8. Tuesday’s game starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Tigers got revenge after their loss against North Hall earlier this season, crushing the Lady Trojans 50-29 for their third region win of the season.
“We wanted to play a lot harder,” Lady Tigers head coach Eric Herrick said. “We didn’t compete last time. We got beat in transition and we got beat up on the boards. We made some x and o adjustments that helped us out for sure.”
Maddie Anglin and Mariah Benson both recorded double-doubles in the winning effort. Anglin led the offense with 27 points and had five steals in the win. Benson did not start the game after missing practice for the last 10 days. She scored 14 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds.
The game started off slow offensively for the Lady Tigers. They did not score for the first three and a half minutes of the game and the game was tied at five points at the end of the first quarter. However, 21 points in the second quarter gave them a 26-10 lead into halftime.
The win over North Hall keeps the Lady Tigers in fifth place in region 7-3A but should help them push up to fourth place by the end of the season. If the Lady Tigers win their last two region games against Cherokee Bluff and West Hall, two teams they beat earlier this season, they will finish with five region wins. North Hall, the number four seed, currently has four region wins with West Hall and Gilmer still to play.
Before returning to their region schedule on Tuesday, the Lady Tigers play the last regular season home game at Ford Phillips Center on Saturday, Jan. 30 against Elbert County High School. The game starts immediately after the junior varsity girls game at 1 p.m.