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‘Wake up call’: Tigers biggest loss of season inspires bounce back region win
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Ty Whittmire dribbles past the White County defender during the region loss on Friday, Jan. 15. - photo by Jacob Smith

“I think something like this could be a wake-up call, but what a huge loss tonight.”

That’s what Tigers basketball head coach Todd Cottrell said after a 76-48 loss against White County (9-5, 6-1 in region 7-3A) on Friday, Jan. 15. The 28 point differential is the Tigers’ biggest loss of the season. Before that, the Tigers had only lost by double digits once before. 

“That’s just a disappointing performance,” Cottrell said. “I don’t think we did anything extremely well in the first three quarters. In a game like this, you’d hope we’d play well and be competitive, but we weren’t.”

This was also the lowest amount of points that the Tigers have scored this season. No players shined offensively on the court this game, with both Jake Craft and Max Tierny leading the offense with only 10 points. White County led the game by 31 points at the end of the third quarter. Any deficit by 30 points changes quarter length to just six minutes, rather than eight minutes. 

Cottrell sat all of his starters for the fourth quarter, showing the game was too far away to come back and win. 

“We’re really good when we share and defend and try to push the tempo,” Cottrell said. “We didn’t do any of that to our standards today. I’ll give credit to White County though. They obliterated us in every way you could obliterate somebody.”

The loss could have very well been a wake-up call for the Tigers, who played the Gilmer Bobcats (3-8, 1-4 in region 7-3A) the following Saturday and dominated them for a 79-41 region victory.  

“It was a good bounce-back win after a very disappointing performance at White,” Cottrell said. “Played more like us today, but still haven’t played our best basketball yet.”

Craft once again led the Tigers in scoring with 29 points and converted seven three-pointers. Joakeim Celestin was right behind with 17 points and led the team with seven assists. Tyler Lane recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. 

The Tigers (12-6, 5-2 in region 7-3A) returned to action on Monday, Jan. 18 to play Rockdale County High School in a non-region game at home at 2:30 p.m. The next day, the Tigers return to region play against Lumpkin County (7-8, 2-4 in region 7-3A) at home. The Tigers scored 80 points in their first game against the Indians this year, their season-high.