Holy Innocents seemed altogether unfazed by being on the road entering its GHSA Class 1A private school boys matchup as it capitalized on some early strong play for a 71-56 win over Tattnall Square on Thursday in the GHSA Class 1A private school playoffs.
Cole Smith put on a show, scoring 31 points, including five 3-pointers in the first quarter. The lights-out scoring display paced the Bears as they prevented Tattnall from ever taking a lead after the first quarter.
Tattnall ended the year swinging with a gutsy performance. The Trojans were able to use a decisive size advantage to body the Bears in the paint but ultimately were unable to string together enough buckets to ever really threaten the Holy Innocent lead. The Trojans end the year with a 17-9 record.
Three who mattered
Smith: The senior had 19 points in the first quarter. He played smart, as well. After Tattnall made a point of denying him the ball around the perimeter, he drove into the paint and was able to score on floaters and at the free-throw line where he shot 6-of-8.
Alex Hyatt: The sophomore was a nice complement to Smith. He had nine points and was aggressive on the boards at both ends. He came alive in the third quarter, getting to the free throw line and driving from the top of the key.
Calvin Slaughter: Slaughter was the bright spot for the Trojans and led the way with 17 points. He dominated the second quarter with 12 points including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Holy Innocents’ lead to just four points going into halftime.
Switching it up: Holy Innocents was able to give the Trojans with constant switching on defense. It played man-to-man, used a 2-3 zone and added a press in the third quarter. The change of pace was enough to prevent Tattnall from creating any momentum and pressure defense kept the lead just beyond striking distance in the second half.
Drought: The Trojans kept the game close until the fourth quarter. With an eight-point lead, the Bears were content to stay in a high 2-3 zone and force the Trojans into long 3-pointers. Tattnall was unable to score, and it led to frustration fouls and turnovers for Holy Innocents.
They said it
Holy Innocents head coach Adrian Okezie: “We came out hot. Cole Smith was the X-factor. Tattnall made a run…(Calvin Slaughter) made a statement (Thursday), but our guys are locked in defensively. We play a big team next week in Greenforest, so if we lock in defensively and protect the basket, we should come out with a victory.”