High School Basketball

Cougars break two-game slide in region play

by Doug Gorman


Heritage School’s Rich Yancey drives toward the basket for a layup attempt during Tuesday’s Region 1-AAA game against Weber at home. Yancey had a team-high 17 points in a victory. 

After dropping back-to-back losses to Westlake and Tri-Cities in Region 3-AAAAAA competition, the Newnan Cougars were looking for any type of spark to snap the two-game losing streak.

They got it with a balanced effort en route to a 66-49 victory of Langston Hughes in Region 3-AAAAAA action.

Eight players, including three in double figures, scored for Newnan (14-4 overall, 3-2 in Region 3-AAAAAA competition), something head coach Rod Ladd has been waiting on since the season began.

Sophomore Jannson Williams, who played a larger role in Saturday's Region 3-AAAAAA loss to Tri-Cities, came up big again with 14 points and senior standouts Doniel Dean and Immanuel Griggs added 14 and 12, respectively, to help snap a brief slide against region opponents.

'We have been talking about different players stepping up and not just depending on Dean and Griggs,' Ladd said.

Against Langston Hughes (5-12, 0-4), which started two freshmen, the Cougars got contributions throughout the lineup with timely baskets while taking leads of 9-7 after one quarter and 26-16 at halftime.

The Cougars used their defense to take control, holding the Panthers to just six fieldgoals through the opening two periods.

Newnan appeared ready to put it away in the third quarter on Tonarius Portress' basket for a 40-23 lead, but the Cougars went cold for the next two-plus minutes as Langston Hughes scored the last five points of the period.

Devon Hart's 3-point shot and Khalill Cuffee helped spark the Panthers in the third quarter.

Cuffee converted an old-fashioned threepointer with a basket and ensuing free throw, but the hopes for a comeback didn't last long.

Williams broke the scoring Cougars' scoring drought just seconds into the fourth quarter.

The 6-8, sophomore, who has been effective inside, showed he could score along the baseline using a 3-pointer to push the Cougars' lead to 43-30 while scoring 10 of his 14 points in the final period.

'That 3-pointer was huge because they had score several points in a row, and we needed a way to stop the bleeding,' Ladd said of Williams' trey.

Right after knocking down his trey, Williams hit a basket while being fouled before connected on the free throw, which equally was a key to Newnan's victory.

Dean finished 8 of 10 from the line while Griggs made 4 of 8 attempts.


LANGSTON HUGHES 6 10 12 15-43 NEWNAN 9 8 13 26-66 

LG - Speed 3, Atkinson 8, Okeke 11, Cuffee 10, Huff 4, Jenkins 1, Peterkin 6 N - Grant 4, Griggs 12, Jones 7, Kneidel 6, Houston 4, Dean 14, Williams 14, Turner 3, Portress 2

HERITAGE SCHOOL 65, WEBER SCHOOL 48: At home, the Hawks had to battle back from a sluggish first quarter, falling behind by five points early to grab a slim 32-31 lead at the break before dominating the second half.

Heritage improved to 4-1 in Region 1-AAA and 10-3 overall while Weber fell to 0-4 and 4-10. The top-four teams in 1-AAA were separated by just one game in the loss column heading into Tuesday's action.

Rich Yancey led Heritage with 17 points and both Glavin Groover and Jay Macke each added 10 as the hosts stormed out of halftime to grab a 49-41 advantage after the third quarter before polishing off the victory on a 16-7 run.

Cole Jones, who returned to the lineup following an ankle injury, had eight points and eight rebounds in the victory.

McINTOSH 74, NORTHGATE 56: At McIntosh, the Chiefs continued to keep their hold of first place in subregion 4B-AAAAA while improving to 9-2 and 14-6 overall. The Vikings fell to 3-7 and 8-10 overall.

DOUGLAS COUNTY 100, EAST COWETA 43: In Douglasville, the Tigers (13-3, 3-2 in Region 3-AAAAAA) jumped out in a hurry against the Indians, who fell to 0-4 in the region and 2-15 overall.

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