(Rossville, Georgia) – A neck-and-neck contest came down to the final minute for Georgia Northwestern in their 2011-12 season opener Thursday night at the Rossville Athletic Complex in Rossville, Georgia. With 43 seconds left, Bobcat captain Matt Woods drove the lane on Hiwassee College and slipped a pass to freshman standout Randy Boyd at the last second for a quick two and a free throw to give Cats Country the lead for good.
A pair of late free-throws made by Woods with only six seconds remaining would give Georgia Northwestern (1-0) a season-opening win, 67-64 at The R.A.C., the home court of the Bobcats.
“This was a good building game for us. We’d rather win like this than in a 20-point blowout,” said Georgia Northwestern Head Men’s Basketball Coach David Stephenson. “We had a stretch in the second half where we couldn’t buy a basket. But, it said a lot about our defense because they didn’t score on us either.”
Hiwassee College heated up early and often after the opening tip with the sharp-shooting of Tiger guard Chris Moses as he hit a trio of treys to give Hiwassee their first nine points of the game. The Tennessee four-year college would hold the lead until the seven minute mark when freshman Bobcat Fernando Limus, Jr. (Model) would hit one of his four first-half three-pointers to give Cats Country their first lead of the night, 26-25. Limus would find the target from long-range five times on the night.
Leading the way was freshman Randy Boyd (Chattanooga Hixson) with 24 points from off the bench. Limus add 17 on the night. Freshman forward Alex Miller (Gordon Central) cleaned the glass for a dozen rebounds and added five points in the win.
“We shot 15-of-16 from the free-throw line on the night,” said Stephenson. “That’s amazing for the first game of the season.”
A roster which currently dresses out 12 for action provided a lot of action from top to bottom. “We got effort from everyone,” said Stephenson. “Each player did something. I’m surprised that it was as positive as it was.”
One of the most welcome surprises for Stephenson’s squad was the insertion of Justin Dempsey, Ray Hill, Jr., and Andre Towns in the final three minutes of the first half. “They provided exactly what we hoped they would in their roles. They gave us fresh legs, maturity, and high intensity.”
Towns, a 32-year old Automotive Technology student, said it was a dream come true. “When that shot fell, it was amazing,” said Towns. “I’m so glad I even had the chance to be a part of this team. This is going to be a memorable year for everyone, I think.”
This year marks the fifth season of men’s collegiate varsity basketball at Georgia Northwestern which officially became a full-member of the NJCAA this season and plays in Region XVII. “We’ve come a long way since our first year of playing basketball,” said Georgia Northwestern administrator Jeff King. “The first year we had a few good players. Now in year five of our program, we have a bench full of good players. A bench full of really driven student-athletes.”
Next up for Georgia Northwestern is a full-tilt of tournament games in the Freewill College tournament in Nashville, Tennessee November 11-12. Lady Cats tip-off their season Saturday night at 6:30 in Rome, Georgia versus Snead State out of Boaz, Alabama.
For more information on the Bobcats and Lady Cats Basketball programs at Georgia Northwestern, you can contact the Office of Sports Information at 706.764.3813 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia Northwestern (67) – Moon, Randy Boyd 24, Towns 2, Fernando Limus, Jr. 17, Woods 3, Hill, Dempsey 2, Patton 7, Miller 5, Todd 3, Chitwood, Fuleki 4.
Hiwassee College (64) – Chris Moses 11, Bivens 8, Wright 5, Tucker 5, Snead 6. Bench: 29.
Halftime Score – 37-36, Hiwassee College.