The Mustangs led 20-19 at halftime, but the Eagles’ defense sparked the offense to outscore Kennesaw Mountain 31-17 in the third quarter en route to a 73-59 Region 4AAAAAA victory at home Monday.
Jalen Cook scored all 13 of his points, including eight in the third quarter, in the second half to help pace South Cobb (3-5, 2-2), which snapped a five-game losing streak. Antonio Wade scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, while Milique Johnson added 12. Antonio Noland scored seven points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, while Wesley Ingram added eight boards and five points.
“We wanted to pick up the pace,” South Cobb coach Gregory Moultrie said. “We didn’t start the game off well, and I figured the best way to set the intensity was to press and get their juices going and the guys responded.
“We’ve had a few tough losses with games that came right down to the buzzer during that losing streak and we wanted to get that off our backs. This win keeps us near the top of the league for the first part of the season with three wins and two losses, so now we have to build on that.”
(5-5, 3-3), which has dropped two straight, found itself in a 5-0 hole early, but clawed back to take its first lead of the game following a jumper from Andrew Jimenez with 6:20 left in the second quarter.
Neither team held a lead of more than two points the rest of the period, and Edward Lott’s free throw with 20 seconds left put the Mustangs on top by one at the intermission.
South Cobb’s full court pressure out of the break forced Kennesaw Mountain to rush its shots, and the Eagles’ rebounding helped to push the ball up the court resulting in easy baskets.
Edward Lott’s jumper with 4:35 left in the third pulled the Mustangs to within 28-25, but Jacari Boboye’s layup sparked an 8-0 for the Eagles, who outscored the Mustangs 22-12 over the final 4:30 of the period.
South Cobb’s momentum continued into the fourth quarter. The Eagles opened the period on a 5-0 run and built their biggest lead, 69-49, after Ingram drained the second of two free throws with 2:20 left in the contest.
Adrien White scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead Kennesaw Mountain. He also had four rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Mustangs. Jimenez added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Nigel Hayes had seven points and seven boards.
Lott finished with five points and seven rebounds, Brendt Pickens had nine points and Miles Inman added six boards.
“I thought we were there in the first half and we were doing as well as expected until halftime,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Jesse Bonner said. “We missed some shots in the first half which could have helped us build a bigger lead, and then their pressure had an affect us in the second half.
“We rushed some shots and didn’t back on defense and didn’t get the rebounds. You can’t get behind on the road like that against a good team like South Cobb.”