The Coosa-Armuchee game on Tuesday night carried a lot of postseason implications for both teams — but for different reasons.
The Indians were looking to boost their confidence with the region tournament less than a week away, while the Eagles were looking to inch closer to a top two spot in Region 7-AA, which would give them an automatic berth to the state tournament.
But on Tuesday, the Indians rode their late-season momentum to down Coosa, 72-65, in Armuchee.
The game was up in the air until the last four minutes and featured several lead changes and back-and-forth momentum.
“Both teams shot pretty well and played really hard, like we have in our other two games (against Coosa),” said Armuchee coach Ray Tucker.
“We’re very competitive with each other so fortunately we managed to get a little lead there at the end and made some shots and made some plays.”
Armuchee had four players finish in double figures: Jonathan Mason led all scorers with 21 points, including five 3s, Jacob Booke followed with 16 points, Chad Wilson had 14 and Chase Cooper added 11 including three 3’s.
Armuchee and Coosa had 11 3-pointers apiece.
The Indians, who started region play at 0-8, have now won four of their last five games, and are poised to make a splash in the Region 7-AA tournament when it opens on Tuesday.
“We’ve been building and trying to get better and we are,” said Tucker. “I hope it’s going to be another boost. We had two good wins last week and this one tonight was very special.
“We just have to keep working at it. We’re beginning to take advantage of our leads and play some really good basketball.”
The first quarter of Tuesday’s game saw the Eagles take control with a 9-0 scoring run that gave them a 21-14 edge over the Indians, but the Indians inched back with a 6-0 scoring run that put them behind Coosa 21-19 going into the second quarter.
The first quarter featured several 3-pointers from both teams, which was a common theme of the night as the game produced 22 total 3’s.
The second quarter opended with intensity from both sides, and neither team could stretch a lead before the half, leaving the halftime scored at an even 33-33.
The Eagles came into the third quarter full force and built a six-point lead, 42-36, but their advantage quickly faded with two back-to-back game-tying 3’s from Mason.
The Indians’ third-quarter momentum brought them to a 54-50 lead going into the fourth where strong defense and Eagle turnovers gave them control of the game.
Although, the Eagles would find the tie two more times during the fourth quarter, they couldn’t get over the edge Armuchee built and suffered the 7-AA loss.
Despite the loss, the Eagles’ leading scorers put up high numbers.
Christian McFather had 20 points, including six 3’s and Isaac Bradley posted 16.
Coosa was one of four teams hovered around a second place region spot that could take them straight to the state tournament, but with the loss the Eagles are ready to get into region-tournament mode.
“We will have to come together and make our mind up that we have to do things consistently well in order to get through the region tournament and possibly win the region tournament,” said Coosa coach John McFather.
“This team right here (Coosa) has beaten almost everyone in the region,” he said. “The only team we haven’t beaten is Dade and we play them this Friday night, so we’re more than capable of fighting through the tournament and winning it.
“Tonight’s loss probably ended our run at first or second in the region, and I’m disappointed in it, but there’s a new opportunity in it for our guys,” he added. “If they learn from their mistakes, and if they learn that you’ve got to play hard from start to finish and play fundamentally sound from start to finish, we’ll win games.”
Coosa hosts Dade County on Friday night.
Armuchee hosts Calhoun on Friday night.
BOYS: Armuchee 72,
Isaac Bradley 16, Christian McFather 20, Smith 9, Lamboy 1, Grier 9, Carter 5, Wilson 3, Bell 4.
Jacob Booke 16, Jonathan Mason 21, Chad Wilson 14, Chase Cooper 11, Stamey 2, Barnett 4, Brock 4.
Coosa 21 12 17 17 — 67
Armuchee 19 14 21 18 — 72
3-Pointers — Coosa 11 (Bradley 2, McFather 6, Grier 1, Carter 1, Wilson 1); Armuchee 11 (Booke 2, Mason 5, Wilson 1, Cooper 3). Free throws — Coosa 12-18; Armuchee 3-4. Records — Coosa 14-9, 7-6; Armuchee 7-15, 4-9.
(note: Coosa hosts Dade County on Friday. Armuchee hosts Calhoun on Friday.)