Hooch defeats Centennial for first region win of season

By Zach Shugan

ROSWELL, Ga. — The Chattahoochee girls basketball team picked up its first region win of the season Jan. 12, and it did so in exciting fashion. After trailing Centennial the entire first half, the Cougars stormed back in the second half to defeat the home-team Knights, 42-36.

“It was a good team effort,” Chattahoochee head coach Lorenzo Withrite said. “The first half, we didn’t play with our normal energy. I challenged them at halftime to pick it up. If you come out and play hard and you get a loss, you can live with that. But you don’t want to go home thinking you didn’t give it your all.”

Chattahoochee junior Mary Troyer, who finished with a game-high 14 points, sparked the comeback by scoring 10 straight points for the Cougars in the third quarter.

Centennial led 7-4 at the end of the first quarter behind good play on offense from sophomore Ciara Ware, who scored all seven of the Knights’ points in the quarter, and high energy on the boards from senior Amina Akosa, who grabbed seven rebounds in the opening eight minutes.

Centennial sophomore Ciara Ware (#22) shoots a free throw during the Knights’ game against Chattahoochee on Jan. 12. (Zach Shugan)

Ware continued to find the basket in the second quarter, finishing with 11 points in the first half, and the Knights led by five points at halftime, 21-16.

Meanwhile, all five starters for Chattahoochee scored in the first half, as sophomore Autumn Cotton and freshman Jasmine Perez had five points each.

Though she scored only two points in the opening half, Troyer came out firing in the second half. She hit multiple threes in the third quarter and gave Chattahoochee its first lead of the night, 26-25, halfway through the period.

“[Troyer] started it for us,” Withrite said. “That’s what woke up everybody. We were waiting for one person to light the fire, and then everybody else kind of followed.”

Once the Cougars took the lead, they were able to hold on to it for the rest of the game.

Chattahoochee freshman Jasmine Perez (right) defends Centennial freshman Samantha Ambroselli (left) in the Jan. 12 game between the Knights and Cougars. (Zach Shugan)

“The girls really stepped up,” Withrite said. “They wanted this one, and they stepped up collectively to do what they had to do.”

Troyer finished with 14 points, four rebounds and one assist. Perez added 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Ware nearly had a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds. Akosa had a monster game on the glass, reeling in 13 rebounds to go with her five points.

With the win, Chattahoochee improved to 7-9 overall and 1-4 in region play. The Cougars continue region play Jan. 15 at home against Creekview (6-9, 2-4).

On the other side, Centennial fell to 2-12 overall and 0-6 in region play. The Knights play Jan. 15 at home against region foe River Ridge (11-3, 4-1).

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