The Rome Wolves opened a new era on Tuesday night on their home court as they played their first game under head coach John McFather, and things went as close to perfect as they possibly could have.

The Wolves played solidly on both ends of the court, spread the scoring around and were intense from start to finish as they earned an impressive 72-40 victory over Cass to open the season.

Rome (1-0) took control early thanks to a hot shooting start that included four first-quarter 3-pointers from Braxton Wade to help the team to a 25-11 lead after one full period. They continued that pace in the second quarter and pushed their lead to 41-24 at the half.

The third quarter is when they really created some distance as they had several players contribute points from inside, outside and the free throw line to outscore the visiting Colonels (2-1) 21-8 in the period and put the game away to the tune of a 62-32 lead heading to the fourth.

“Tonight went really well,” said McFather, who is starting his first season at Rome after serving many years as the head boys coach at Coosa. “We’ve been stressing playing as a team on both ends of the court. In our preseason game last week, we didn’t do that, but tonight we did. We established an inside presence and played good, solid defense for 94 feet.

“It went really well for a first game. There are definitely things we’ve got to work on and fix, but this was a big improvement from our preseason game. Cass is a good team, and we were able to shut them down for the most part.”

Wade led the scoring with a game-high 20 points, including five first-half 3s. Jayquan Nelson had a stellar effort as well with 18 points, including 10 in the first half and eight in the second.

Also reaching double figures for the Wolves, who had 10 total players reach the scoring column, was Cameron Keith with 12 points and EJ Holland with 11. McFather was pleased with the balance on offense and the way his team shared the ball.

“That’s what we’ve said all along is that we want to have several different guys that can score at any time,” said McFather. “That’s hard to defend. We’ve got quite a few that can play. That’s really a strength of our team. When we’re working together and not relying on just one guy to handle most of the scoring, we’ve got four, five or six players that can get double figures on any given night.”

Jelani Hames was the top scorer for Cass with 14 points, including a thunderous dunk in the first half that brought the crowd to its feet. But Rome made defensive adjustments at the half and limited him to just two points in the final two quarters. Ethan McIntyre scored seven, and Jayden Foster added six.

The Wolves will have a few days off before their next time on the court when they travel to Chattooga for another non-region test on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.

McFather said he is excited about the potential of his team if they continue to work hard like they early in the season.

“We demand a lot out of them, and that work ethic is starting to show,” said McFather. “I’m trying to show them how important it is to practice at a high level, and when we play like we did tonight, it shows them that it will pay off.”

Rome 72, Cass 40

CASS (40)

White 2, Hames 14, Hale 2, Foster 6, McIntyre 7, Chavez 4, Mckibbins 3.

ROME (72)

Hight 2, Nelson 18, Wade 20, Holland 11, Loveman 2, Foster 2, Hawkins 2, Keith 12, Adams 2, McClure 1.

Cass 11 13 8 8 — 40

Rome 25 16 21 10 — 72

3-pointers: Cass 2 (Hames 1, Foster 1), Rome 9 (Wade 5, Keith 2, Nelson 1, Holland 1); Free Throws: Cass 6-15, Rome 11-15; Records: Cass 2-1, Rome 1-0.


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