Mixed results were found in the Cedartown boys basketball team’s return to the Haralson County Invitational Tournament last week. But, as head coach Benjie Frazier put it, he still views it as a win.
“The biggest thing about the tournament is that we got all of our players some playing time,” Frazier said. “Our players that were on the football team needed acclimation, and playing three games in three days will certainly help you get in basketball shape.”
The Bulldogs opened the 45th Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament with a tough first-round matchup against undefeated Sonoraville. Though Cedartown entered the tourney 1-3 overall, the team put together a great effort against the Phoenix. Sonoraville’s veteran team was able to capitalize on some late Cedartown mistakes to pull away for a 50-43 win.
Jeremiah Johnson led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points and four rebounds while Jordan Johnson added nine points and four rebounds. MJ Holiday had seven points and three boards in the loss.
It was a night and day difference between their first and second-round matchups. Their Dec. 28 contest against Faith Christian, a Single A private school out of Anniston, Ala., saw Cedartown stomp the Lions in the second half. Frazier’s team stretched a 21-14 halftime lead into a 48-23 advantage thanks to a huge third period.
They continued to score at will in the final interval, cruising to a 61-38 victory. MJ Holiday had 15 points and four rebounds against the Lions while Jermiah Johnson had 14 points and seven boards. Michael Walker finished with seven points and Xavier Holiday had a six point, six rebound performance.
“I think the biggest key to winning the game was how we moved the ball,” Frazier said. “We didn’t force anything and had great shots. We really played good team basketball.”
Unfortunately Cedartown was unable to end the tournament on a high note, as they fell 39-26 to North Murray in the fifthplace Game. MJ Holiday had 12 points in the loss.
“North Murray’s zone defense was really effective against us. They forced us to make jump shots and they just weren’t falling,” Frazier said. “I told the guys after the game that we played really good. Our defense was stout to. We held them to just 39 points. But sometimes you’ll have a day where the shots won’t go.”
After finishing 1-2 at the Haralson County Invitational Tourament, the Bulldogs were at 2-5 (1-1) on the season. They played one more game last week, hosting non-region Paulding County on Saturday afternoon, in a game where Frazier said he planned to build depth, practice in-game scenarios, and further get players into basketball shape.
“I’ve been trying to tell the guys, ‘Don’t get caught up in our record. You want to win them all, but the region games are what matter,’” Frazier said. “If we keep playing hard, keep improving, and do what we have to do, it’ll all work out.”
Cedartown jumped back into region play on Jan. 5 at Ridgeland. They host Pickens on Friday at Cedartown High School before playing host to non-region foe Cartersville on Jan. 9.