By Zach Shugan
ROSWELL, Ga. — Chattahoochee’s and Centennial’s boys basketball teams have both been ranked among the 10 best teams in Class 6A for a majority of the 2020-21 season. The rivals out of Region 7-6A split their two matchups during the regular season, as Chattahoochee took the first game by 20 points and Centennial won the second by 10 points in double overtime.
The Knights and Cougars finished first and second in the regular season region standings, and both won in the first two rounds of the region tournament, setting up a rubber match Saturday night at Centennial to decide who would be region champions.
Following a back-and-forth game through the first three quarters, Chattahoochee pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Centennial, 57-50, and claim back-to-back region titles.
“Obviously with all the circumstances going into this year I didn’t really know what to expect,” Chattahoochee head coach Chris Short said. “We’ve had two quarantines, 24 days missed and five games missed. We always tell our guys ‘Just be in the position to control your destiny.’ And we’ve done that. And it feels so good.”
First-Team All-Region selection Jordan Brown had the hot hand all night, scoring a game-high 26 points (four 3-ptrs) for the Cougars, and two-time Region Player of the Year A.J. White added 14 points, two rebounds and two assists.
“Obviously everybody is keyed in on A.J. and he’s number one on their scout,” Short said. “He went off last week in the last game of the regular season, and I had a felling they’d kind of overplay him a little bit … I’m very proud of what Jordan brought to the team and what he accomplished with us today. I thought he was a great energy source for us.”
Short also praised junior Tomiwa Adetosoye (5 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) for his play, especially during a crucial stretch in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got really good guards,” he said. “Tomiwa was able to control a lot. I know Jordan had the point total, but Tomiwa was able to really control the tempo there late and get to the paint whenever he wanted to. That’s the way it is when one guy struggles, another steps up. We’re lucky to have that on our team.”
Centennial led by one point, 31-30, following a fast-paced first half. Both teams shot at a high percentage, combining for nine three-pointers in the half. Brown accounted for three of those himself, and Centennial seniors Kyle Duncan (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Logan Turner (13 points, 2 rebounds) added two apiece.
A 7-0 run by Chattahoochee at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Cougars a 47-40 lead, and they were able to fend off the Knights’ attempts at a comeback in the final minutes by getting a couple stops on defense and converting from the free throw line.
With the win, Chattahoochee (20-3) earned a one seed in the 6A state tournament, which they won for the first time last year. The first test on the Cougars’ road to a repeating as state champions is a matchup with former region foe Pope (16-12), the four seed out of Reg. 6-6A.
“Obviously we’re very familiar with them having been in the same region for four years,” Short said. “Just excited for the next stop. Our goal is always to go 1-0, and now we’re in a situation to go 1-0 again.”
Centennial (21-4) earned a two seed in their first trip to the 6A state playoffs since. The Knights will host South Cobb (16-11), the three seed from Reg. 6-6A, in the first round next week.
Jordan Brown (Jr.) – 26 pts, 3 reb
A.J. White (Sr.) – 14 pts, 2 reb, 2 asst
Tomiwa Adetosoye (Jr.) – 5 pts, 6 reb, 5 asst
Gil Matondo (Jr.) – 5 pts, 8 reb, 2 asst, 1 blk
Keith Murray (Sr.) – 5 pts, 7 reb
Cameron James (Fr.) – 2 pts, 3 reb
Logan Turner (Sr.) – 13 pts, 2 reb
Wade Kahl (Jr.) – 12 pts, 11 reb, 2 asst, 2 blk
Mansir Williamson (So.) – 10 pts, 1 reb, 3 asst
Kyle Duncan (Sr.) – 8 pts, 3 reb, 3 asst
K.J. Spooney (Sr.) – 5 pts, 3 asst
Julian Nixon (Sr.) – 2 pts, 6 reb
Brian Baylor (Jr.) – 1 reb, 1 asst