West Forsyth boys coach Jim Cook could only shake his head and laugh bemusedly, and that said it all.
It was the look of a coach and a team that, try as it might, had been reduced to mere observers of Johns Creek’s glorified game of ‘around the world.’ The visiting Gladiators hit all nine of their three-point attempts in a 57-point second half to beat West, 85-61, on Tuesday evening.
“I’ve seen teams maybe make that many because they take a ton, but never making all nine,” Cook said. “A team that gets hot like that, they’re really hard to beat.”
Back to the head-shaking: when asked if Johns Creek’s 8-0 run to open the third quarter, stretching an 11-point halftime lead to 19, was the dagger. No, Cook said, but nine-for nine?
The 8-0 run may not have put West (10-11 overall, 6-9 Region 6-AAAAAA) away for good, but that’s when the Johns Creek founds its shooting stroke. In the third quarter alone, the Gladiators scored 29 points on 5-of-5 from deep, 4-of-5 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
“We have to make sure we pick our poison, but we didn’t do either tonight,” Cook said. “When we wouldn’t be out on them, they’d shoot threes. When we’d try to guard closely, they went by us. I thought our defense broke down quite a bit tonight.”
West hung around with Johns Creek (12-10, 10-5) in the first half. The complexion of the final 16 minutes could have been different had the Wolverines not missed 13 shots from inside the paint in the first two quarters — too much to overcome against one of the stronger teams in Region 6-AAAAAA.
“Johns Creek played really well; it was their ‘On’ night,” Cook said. “But, we didn’t do much to stop that train.”
Johns Creek boys 85, West Forsyth 61
Johns Creek 15 13 29 28_85
West Forsyth 8 9 21 23_61
Johns Creek: Lancaster 20; Witlow 14; Clay 12; Joseph 11; Campbell 9; Henkel 5; Bell 3; Elson 3; Taylor 2; Williams 2; Zodula 2; Ruoff 2.
West Forsyth: Staiti 19; Macer 17; Magee 6; Freitas 5; Peterson 5; Morris 4; Fuller 3; Pruitt 2.