By Zach Shugan
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Playing in the opening round of the Raider Invitational on Saturday, Alpharetta made sure it defended its home court.
The Raiders won 60-48 over Cambridge to improve to 4-7 overall this season and secure a spot in the tournament semifinals against North Paulding.
By defeating Cambridge, the Raiders surpassed their win total from a season ago when they finished 3-18, and over half of this season remains to be played.
“They played very hard defensively tonight and followed the game plan and shared the basketball,” Alpharetta head coach Clay Crump said. “If we do that, I think we’re going to have a really good second semester.”
Sophomore point guard Jacob Tillman scored a team-high 15 points and dished out a few assists in the win for Alpharetta.
“He’s only a sophomore, but he’s got a tremendous handle, great vision, and he’s an excellent finisher,” Crump said. “He’s got a ton of potential.”
Tillman’s running mates include seniors Matthew Hopkins (12 pts, 2 reb, 2 asst), Noel Asiedu (8 pts, 3 reb, 1 blk) and Malcham Riley (8 pts, 3 reb, 2 blk), along with junior Solomon Jones (7 pts, 2 reb, 1 asst).
Junior guard Paul Urban moved to Alpharetta from Germany and was expected to be a key contributor in his first year with the team, but he injured his arm in a preseason scrimmage.
Crump said he expects Urban to return some time in January. When he does, Alpharetta will add a 6-foot-2 scoring guard to its lineup.
“We have plenty with our guys,” Crump said. “We just got to keep sharing the basketball and playing as a team.”
Alpharetta hosts North Paulding (4-7), which edged out Northview (4-7) in overtime in the first round, in the tournament semifinals Monday at 7:30 p.m. The winner will play Tuesday in the championship game against Parkview or Camp Jewell House.
Cambridge was led in scoring and rebounding Saturday by senior Owen Setterlind, who posted 17 points (3 three-pointers) and 7 boards. Senior Gavin Gardella added 12 points. The Bears (1-7) will take on Northview in a consolation game Monday.