Published Friday, January 04, 2013

Vikings' Cain has more work to do before retiring

By DOUG GORMAN

dgorman@newnan.com

After 30 years of coaching high school basketball, Northgate’s boys coach Mack Cain has experienced both the high and lows that go along with the job.

However as he gets set to retire at the end of the season, Cain still gets plenty of satisfaction out of teaching young men the game he loves.

The beginning of the end officially begins tonight when Cain’s Vikings resume their season after a short holiday break on the road against Region 4B-AAAAAA foe McIntosh.

Northgate comes into the game against the Chiefs with a 3-7 record and a 2-4 mark in region play.

McIntosh is 8-5 overall and 5-1 in league play.

Northgate played some of its best basketball right before the holiday break, beating Forest Park 40-29 and Our Lady of Mercy 54-45.

Things didn’t go as well for the Vikings in their one game during the holidays as they fell 81-34 to Hillgrove.

“We probably didn’t practice as hard as we should have,” Cain said.” It was the holidays, and I was trying to give them some time off, and that was by fault. Still I think we took some good things out of that loss.”

Cain thinks his team is talented enough to send him out with some big wins down the stretch.

“I have told our kids, I think the region is wide open,” Cain said. “There are some good teams, but I don’t feel like we are that far behind. We are excited about it.”

Cain’s biggest challenge this season has been trying to replace 10 seniors who brought plenty of experience to the court last year. Eight of those upperclassman had been in the program since the ninth grade.

Point guard Tre Stargell a transfer from Newnan has been playing the point for the Vikings.

Adrian Tolbert, who has grown to 6-7, has stepped into the center spot for the Vikings and has turned into a great shot blocker for the Vikings.

“He didn’t get a lot of minutes last year, but he has really turned into one of our best players this year.”

Tolbert went out for football this year and it has helped him with his basketball skills.

[Football] coach [Tommy] Walburn and I convinced him to go out for football and it has done him a world of good, especially with his footwork.

“Playing football made him so much more physical and tougher,” Cain said.

Tolbert along with Peyton Cain and Luke Motzel are the only seniors who have been in the program for four years.

“We are young, and we didn’t have a very good summer, so that hurts you,” Cain said.

It’s going to be a sprint for Cain has he closes out his career. Northgate is scheduled to play 12 games in four weeks.

“Being my last year, I am kind of excited about these last 12 games,” he said. “I have mixed emotions, but I am looking forward to it.”

Tonight’s basketball games also include East Coweta hosting Sandy Creek in a non-region contest to complete a home-and-home series.

Sandy Creek swept East Coweta in the first meeting between teams on Dec. 4 in Tyrone.

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