The Stratford boys used a flurry of 3-pointers to erase a big deficit and knock off North Cobb Christian 67-57 in the GHSA Class A Private School Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at Kennesaw State. Stratford came back from a 12-0 deficit, tied the game in the second half and put it away late in the game.
The Eagles made 10 3-pointers, four each from Oshowen Williams and James Mitchell. Williams led No. 4 seed Stratford (21-5) with 18 points and Mitchell added 18.
No. 5 North Cobb Christian (23-5) wasted a 31-point performance from Demiere Brown.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Williams: The senior was a constant thorn in North Cobb’s side with his defensive activity.
Mitchell: He was 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final quarter to put the game away.
Brown: Scored the first seven points of the game and was a physical presence all night. Stratford did a better job denying him the ball in the second half.
The game was tied at 51 with 4:55 left, and Stratford scored nine unanswered points to take an overwhelming lead. The Eagles got a fastbreak basket from Williams and back-to-back driving baskets by Quintez Cephus. Mitchell made two free throws and Williams added another, and suddenly Stratford had a 60-51 lead.
Not-widespread panic: Even though Stratford got behind by 12 points early, there was no panic among the Eagles. They patiently worked their way back into the game and made wise use of the 3-point shot to erase the lead and take the momentum.
Family ties: North Cobb Christian coach Greg Matta is the brother of Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
Rematch reversal: North Cobb Christian beat Stratford 69-52 in a regular-season game Dec. 11.
THEY SAID IT
Stratford head coach Jamie Dickey on the key to the team’s comeback: “They didn’t really execute the defensive game play. Going zone helped and pressing … the 2-2-1 has been what’s gotten us back in the game.”
Dickey on winning the rematch: “We came up here Dec. 11 and got our tails handed to us. We weren’t ready for the Dec. 11 game. We weren’t prepared. It was a little redemption for us. Time to get some revenge."
Dickey on the lack of panic: “We were down 15, but the game’s a long game. It takes four quarters to finish it off. The press got some turnovers. I know these guys aren’t going to quit.”
Dickey on Mitchell’s big second half: “He didn’t have a good first half. He shot good shots, they didn’t fall for him. I told him at halftime, we win every game you make shots in the second half. He’s such a good shooter that he can do that. He’s so good with catch and shoot. He had to keep playing. If he makes three 3-s, four 3s, we’re tough to beat because you can’t focus on the other two guards.”
Stratford plays Greenforest at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday at Kennesaw State.