Nights like Friday night don’t happen very often for any college basketball team.
Central Georgia Tech’s women were up 74-14 at halftime over Southern Crescent Tech, and the Cougars ended up winning 129-27.
Then the men’s team followed with a quality second half en route to an 85-46 win.
So the Cougars won two games by 141 points at their home away from home, Wesleyan’s Porter Gym.
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“The kids are learning to play together,” men’s head coach Johnny Simmons said. “They’re jelling together.”
That was a pleasant change of pace for the fledgling programs, who are in their first seasons after the college announced their creation only four months ago.
The women are 4-7, not including Monday night’s game at Chattahoochee Valley, and the men are 2-7, off until Atlanta Metro’s tournament Dec. 29-30.
“I feel we should be better than 4-7, because we have the potential and we have the talent,” guard Christie Smith said of the women. “It’s the small things we have to work on.”
Head coach Jason Harris offers no argument.
“We have to learn how to be more consistent,” he said. “At the college level, that’s what has to happen. You have to be consistent to compete.”
Harris and Simmons have unique duties, even on the junior college level. Most teams have a good mix of sophomores and freshmen, but the Cougars’ rosters are dominated by freshmen, 11 for the women and 10 for the men.
Josh Peters, Darius Miller and Jameel Lashley are all from Covington, and Breanna Harris and Alexis Davis are from Columbus, so there’s some rare familiarity with teammates that’s all but nonexistent otherwise.
And Middle Georgia is represented on both teams. Tae Smith played at Rutland and Christa Moore at Treutlen for the women. Derry Thorpe is from Westside, Zarambo Rouse from Twiggs County, Oscar Moore from Griffin, Justin Quarterman from Montgomery County and Adrian Butler from Lamar County.
Harris and Simmons had started putting their teams together long before the August announcement, but not necessarily long enough.
“We got a late start in recruiting,” Simmons said. “We recruited in May.”
Some players had started off elsewhere, like Tae Smith, who originally signed with Valdosta State. Moore began at Dillard in New Orleans.
So it’s a roller coaster for both teams as chemistry improves.
“We’re getting there,” Harris said. “That’s what we’ve been harping on. I think that’s what’s kept us from getting over that hump.”
Wynter and Christie Smith laugh.
“There’s always going to be some problems with females, ‘cause we’re girls,” Smith said, still laughing.
Added Wynter, “We do have our ups and downs.”
The same women who won by 102 points last Friday had lost two straight, by 92-38 and 71-31 in a tournament at Daytona State.
“We try to do what we’re coached to do,” Smith said. “But I don’t feel like we do it consistently. On an every-night basis, we don’t play to our ability.”
The same men who rolled to the 39-point win had lost five straight, albeit by an average of 15.6 points, with margins ranging from 10 to 27 points.
“It’s a process of playing together, learning how to play together, and just winning,” Simmons said.
Starting from scratch means everything has to be bought and organized, from equipment and trainers to keeping stats and washing the new uniforms.
Cracks in the process can easily form, but haven’t.
“We have basically everything we need,” said Wynter, a 6-2 freshman from Queens, N.Y. “We’re not deprived of anything. Of course, you have the ups and downs of a first-year program, but everything has been smooth, for the most part.”
Both teams are optimistic that the bulk of the growing pains are over, and they are seeing more doors open in the recruiting process.
“We’ve played all the tough teams in the region,” Simmons said. “We’ve been very competitive. Our kids play very, very good defense. They’re getting better. They’re buying into stuff.
“Everything is progressing the way we expected it to go. It’s progressing. Now that we’re into the season, we should see more positive results.”