Published Thursday, February 21, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
Newnan High School basketball coach Rod Ladd had one word to describe why the Cougars won’t be advancing to the second round of the Class AAAAAA boys basketball tournament — turnovers.
Several miscues by the Cougars were all the visiting Morrow Mustangs needed Wednesday to hold on to a 63-54 victory.
“You just can’t turn the ball over like we did tonight and expect to win,” Ladd said.
It’s Newnan’s second straight loss in the first round of the state tournament. A year ago, the Cougars lost on the road at Valdosta High School.
Newnan (17-11) entered the first round of this year’s tournament as the No. 2 seed out of Region 3-AAAAA after losing to Tri-Cities last week in the finals of the region tournament.
“I thought we played better than we did on Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough,” Ladd said. “We were hoping to do better.”
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Several times throughout the game, Newnan made a couple of scoring runs, but it just wasn’t enough.
The Mustangs went on a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter and led by double digits for the first time.
Anthony Calloway led the first-half offensive explosion for the Mustangs, scoring 14 of the team’s 32 points.
The Cougars hurt their chances to close the gap in the second quarter, hitting only two shots from the field and the Mustangs led at halftime 32-21.
Morrow’s Joe Sahr dunked the ball midway through the third quarter to give the Mustangs a 40-24 lead.
Newnan showed signs of life with a late run in the third to get Morrow’s lead down to single digits. A 3-point basket and layup by Cougar Darrell Morrow cut the lead to 42-34, and the momentum appeared to be with the Cougars.
However, turnovers again got the best of the home team as the Mustangs closed the quarter with a 7-0 run in the last two minutes to build a 49-34 lead.
Calloway led Morrow with 22 points.
Doniel Dean paced the Cougars with 18 points. Newnan’s Morrow didn’t score in the first half but finished with 12 points. Immanuel Griggs also finished with 12 points.
Morrow (21-10) finished third at last week’s Region 2-AAAAAA event. The Mustangs now move on to play the winner of the North Cobb and Colquitt County game.
The loss ended the high school careers of Kaceon Person, Morrow and James Alexander, but with key underclassmen coming back next year, including Griggs, Dean and Jannson Williams, Ladd won’t have to rebuild.
“We have a pretty good nucleus of players coming back,” Ladd said.