A 60-50 win over Class 4A North Oconee on Thursday moved Coosa to 6-4 on the season as they opened their time in Model High School’s Big Blue Classic tournament. The Eagles sit at 4-1 in the Region 7-AA standings, with their lone loss coming from Chattooga.
But along with that success is a hope from McFather that a roster made up of several seniors can produce the leadership needed for the team to take the next step.
“I need all of them to buy in from the best player throughout the whole roster, and once they do that as a group we can have a really special second half of the season,” McFather said. “The seniors have got to lead. We’re trying to get ready for the second half of the season, which is so critical. Right now is the time they need to come together.”
One of Coosa’s seniors, Kenon Dixon, led the team on Thursday with 28 points, including three 3-pointers, and went 7 of 11 from the free throw line. Zehbien Philyaw — another senior — followed with nine points.
McFather said he expects seniors like Dixon, Philyaw, Sean Brown and Jaylen Hodge to help the team mature and progress as the Eagles enter a crucial portion of their schedule.
“Tonight was a little sloppy coming out of the holidays, so we’re preaching to let’s get better and let’s get more consistent, but tonight we were not consistent,” McFather said. “As a result it was a little tougher to put that team away. Nothing against them, but we made it tough on ourselves.”
The Eagles jumped out to an early 8-2 lead against North Oconee, but gave up the lead and ended up trailing 17-13 at the end of the first and 26-23 at halftime. The second half saw the Eagles get back out in front and end the period ahead 43-37, but Coosa struggled in the final period before finally putting the Titans away.
In other action at Model, the host Blue Devils tried to put together a rally late in their contest with North Forsyth, but eventually fell 53-43 to the Raiders.
After struggling through the opening three quarters Model (6-5) seemed to come alive in the final period, using a full-court press to hinder North Oconee’s progress. The Model offense also started to gain life going on a 6-0 run to start the quarter, cutting the Raiders’ lead to 40-29.
But the Devils were never able to close the gap, as the Raiders (6-6) maintained a consistent 10-point lead through the final period. Jackson Mathis led the Blue Devils 11 points, and Kidron Ford had 10 points.
In Thursday’s opening game, Calhoun picked up an 85-57 win over Pickens County, improving the Yellow Jackets’ record to 6-4 on the season. Davis Allen led Calhoun with 21 points, while Gage Maffetone followed closely with 19, and Tononcito Martha added 10 points.
The Big Blue Classic continues today with Pickens facing Coosa at 3 p.m., Calhoun taking on North Forsyth at 4:30 p.m., and Model going up against North Oconee at 6 p.m.