It was not the ideal start to region play for Cedartown’s boys on Friday night.
Their road trip to Cartersville did not go as planned. The Bulldogs blew a late lead in their 59-57 loss to the Canes.
Early on it was all-Cartersville. The Canes sprinted out to a big lead and held a 15-10 advantage through one period.
Cedartown would battle back in the second, though. Coach Frazier’s squad outscored Cartersville 21-12 in the second interval to take a 31-27 halftime lead. Elijah Diamond and Jeremiah Jones led the charge for Cedartown with each hitting big shot after big shot to give their team the lead.
However, as good as the second period went for the Bulldogs, the third went even better for the Canes.
Kam Callahan and Kolbe Benham were virtually unstoppable following the midway break. The two combined for 10 of their 18 points in the third. On the flip side, the Cartersville defense smothered Cedartown in the period to hold a 45-40 lead going into the last period.
Cedartown came out firing on all cylinders to start the fourth. Benjie Frazier drew up perfect play-calls to get his men open underneath the basket. The Bulldogs also made nearly every free throw in the fourth to help retake the lead. Cedartown led by six points with under a minute left.
Then the Canes woke up. Cartersville came back roaring and making shot after shot. An accidental foul with only a few ticks of the clock left sent Kolbe Benham to the free throw line.
According to Nicholas Sullivan of the Cartersville Daily Tribune, Benham had missed potential game-winning free throws in their loss to Calhoun earlier this season.
This time he would not miss. Benham hit both shots to give the Canes a 59-57 advantage. A three-point prayer fell short from Cedartown, sealing the Cartersville comeback.
The leading scorer for Cedartown (6-3, 0-1) was Jeremiah Johnson who scored 22 points. Elijah Diamond scored 14 points and Jayden Johnson finished with 10. MJ Holiday added 5 points, DJ Frazier tallied 4, and Jadon Powell made a layup.
Kam Callahan, who finished with 22 points, was the leading scorer for Cartersville (5-4, 1-0). Kolbe Benham added 15 points and Robert Novak scored 9. Kyler Johnson finished with 6 points and Marquail Coaxum, Tyrick Hammock, and Manny Hayes had 2 points each. Micah Tart also made a free throw in the win.
With the loss, Cedartown drops their first region contest of the season. They were back in action Saturday, Jan. 4 against LaGrange on their home court after press time.