Every time the McEachern boys basketball team tried to make a game of it Friday night, fourth-ranked North Cobb had an answer.
None was more decisive than a 16-0 run in the second quarter that turned a 16-11 deficit into a 27-16 lead and sparked the Warriors to a 65-61 victory to remain in first place in Region 4-AAAAAA.
Lee Moore scored 13 of North Cobb’s 16 second-quarter points, including six straight in the first 2:15 of the quarter that gave the Warriors the lead for good at 17-16. Moore finished with a game-high 23 points.
The only thing that prevented McEachern from being shut out in the quarter was Logan McIntosh’s 3-pointer as the horn sounded for halftime, cutting the lead to 27-19.
“We pride ourselves on our defense,” North Cobb coach Terry Gorsuch said. “It would’ve been nice to get that [second-quarter shutout]. But that’s one way to win ballgames is to play good defense. We did that pretty well in the second quarter.”
North Cobb (12-3, 7-1) also had two scoring runs in the second half to hold McEachern at bay.
The Indians closed the gap to 32-30 on an inside shot by Freddy Brown with 3:56 to play in the third quarter, but North Cobb outscored McEachern 7-0 in less than a minute to stretch the lead back to 39-30.
The Warriors still led 47-39 entering the fourth quarter, but two shots from close range by Jalil Braxton brought McEachern (8-8, 4-5) back again at 47-43 with 5:58 left. That’s when North Cobb took control for good, outscoring the Indians 9-2 over the next three minutes to push the lead back to 56-45. North Cobb led by 10 in the final minute before McIntosh made two of his five 3-pointers to make the final score close.
“We’re glad to get a region win,” Gorsuch said. “McEachern had a big win Tuesday night, so we knew they were going to come ready to play. It’s good to beat McEachern here on the road.”
North Cobb’s Jordan Neff, a 6-foot-7 senior center, was back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a leg injury during a holiday tournament in late December. He finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots.
“That’s what our plan was, to kinda work him back in, play him just a couple of minutes here and there to see how he does,” Gorsuch said. “Obviously with McEachern’s big man, we needed him in there, at crunch time for sure. He was able to play some good minutes for us, so hopefully his progress will continue.”
North Cobb also got 12 points from Saxon Steele. Braxton had 19 points, Brown had 16 and McIntosh scored 15 to lead McEachern.
North Cobb (65): Young-Coleman 8, Moore 23, J. Beausejour 8, Neff 12, Steele 12, Woodard 2, Williams, Everage, Cotton, Jordan, D. Beausejour, Afolabi.
McEachern (61): Adeboye 4, Brown 16, McIntosh 15, Braxton 19, Patterson 3, Castor 4, Clemons, Lewis, Williams, Jones.