Wood carries Raiders

By PATRICK MacCOON
Posted 11/20/18

Thorough defensive preparation to go with a locked in Jacobi Wood paved the way for Cleveland in the opening round of Dalton's Thanksgiving tournament Monday.There was not much breathing room for …

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Wood carries Raiders

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Thorough defensive preparation to go with a locked in Jacobi Wood paved the way for Cleveland in the opening round of Dalton's Thanksgiving tournament Monday.

There was not much breathing room for Cass (White, Ga.) as the Blue Raiders rolled to a 73-45 victory behind an all-around showing from their junior starting point guard.

Wood filled up the stat sheet with 30 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals despite being pulled 24 seconds into the fourth quarter.

"We got off to a really good start and settled into the game on how to guard them," CHS head coach Jason McCowan said of playing the Class 5A Georgia program that went 17-12 last season. "Jacobi was relentless offensively and I thought everyone was engaged defensively."

After having to guard one of the nation's top juniors in Webb School's Keon Johnson this past Saturday, the Blue Raider defense was hard to get past.

From standing their ground to draw charges along with suffocating permitter defense, there was not much the Colonels could do against the 'Big Blue' who will take on Morristown-East at 7 p.m. tonight at Dalton H.S.

In full attack mode, Wood splashed from the right wing on a corner 3-pointer in front of his team bench. With 4:23 left in the third quarter his 28 points helped build a dominant 60-25 lead.

"I was just trying to pull it out for my teammates," Wood said. "Whenever I play, I think about getting six points a quarter. I got things flowing tonight and kept attacking. This offseason I really worked on being more aggressive."

Playing as part of a system last year with Mullek Bradford leading the way at the point guard position, Wood knows the importance of not only making the extra pass but asserting his scoring power too in a dangerous offense.

The Blue Raiders scored 22, 21 and 22 points through the first three quarters before a 30-point lead created a six-minute fourth quarter clock (GHSCA rules).

"We are always trying to find the extra guy," Wood said. "We play as a team and not one-on-one basketball. Hopefully we can keep the wins rolling and keep pushing ourselves."

Senior Isaiah Johnson scored seven of his 12 points in the first quarter, which included a left corner three before the buzzer for a 22-8 lead.

After back-to-back games to start the season with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, CHS senior forward Dionte Ware scored nine points and picked up four assists.

Wood threaded the needle on several of his assists, which included full-court passes to Johnson and Alex Williams for layups.

With a chance to advance to the Thanksgiving tournament championship game, a tough matchup will have to be survived.

"It wouldn't surprise me if Morristown-East is in the Final 16 for Triple A this year," McCowan said. "They gave Bearden (2018 AAA state runner-up) a really good game last week. It will be a good test. We want to see as many tough games as we can."

CHS sophomore Kley McGowan also contributed in the victory with seven points and drew an offensive charge.

Morristown-East beat Signal Mountain, 63-47, behind Cameron Rymer's 27 points Monday night.

The winner between the Blue Raiders and Hurricanes will face either Chattooga or Tennessee HS in Wednesday night's championship game at 8:30 p.m.

Chattooga won 51-47 over East Ridge, while Tennessee beat Dalton 52-41.

Wood's 30-point effort led all scorers to begin the tournament.

"If Jacobi can achieve his goals of scoring six points every quarter we will be extremely happy," McCowan said. "This offense has a lot of threats. We have some very reliable scorers."

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