By Cole Frederick, Sports Correspondent
Class 1A No. 3 Coosa Christian used a blistering start to sail past Appalachian, 76 – 55, in the semifinals of the Area 11 tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Coliseum.
The Conquerors started the game on a 16 – 0 run, which catapulted them into the area championship game against Ragland on Thursday, Feb. 9 and the subregionals next week.
Coosa led 24 – 5 after the first quarter and were able to stave off an Appalachian run in the second quarter. The hosts built a 39 – 23 advantage heading into halftime, with forward Caden Davidson scoring 15 of his game-high 16 points in the first half.
Conqueror coach Richard Hollingsworth said it was important for his team to start the game on a strong note.
“We’ve been behind for the last four ballgames,” Hollingsworth said. “We played some really, really good teams, but we knew getting started was going to be important. We said in the locker room, ‘can we dictate the first three minutes of the game?’ And we did it.”
Coosa crashed the offensive glass effectively throughout the game and did not allow many second chance points to the Eagles. Hollingsworth said rebounding was a point of emphasis for his team entering the game.
“It set the tone,” he said. “We talked on the bench the first four trips how we got second or third looks at it. That’s just huge. You don’t want other teams thinking that you can’t do that. So we really wanted to set the presence and set the tone.”
The Conquerors continued shooting well in the second half and took a 59 – 37 lead into the final quarter. It was a balanced scoring effort for Coosa behind Davidson as Jace Mills scored 11 points, Evan Delp scored 10, and Caleb Garrett and Alex Holman chipped in 9 points each.
If the Conquerors beat Ragland, they will host a subregional game next week and will travel if they lose. Hollingsworth said hosting an area championship game is “huge” for the program.
“The gym, the outcome, it’s just been phenomenal,” he said. “I can’t say enough about these kids and what they’ve done to get us to this point.”