(Nashville, Tennessee) – The first road trip of the year for the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats opened with a physical game in the Welch College Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee Thursday night.
Hard fouls complete with full-speed charges, illegal screens, and muscle appeared to be the order of the day early on after tipping off first-round action in the Music City.
Sophomore All-Region and All-District First-Teamer Alex Miller led the Cats with 16 against Piedmont International, but they would drop the opening round match 60-49 against the four-year college. Piedmont’s Mike Key would score 17 of his 21 in the first half to lead all scorers.
The Cats (0-2) went down by 10 in the first ten minutes against the team out of Winston-Salem, NC. The deficit grew to 15 by the intermission. The lead would get to 21 points in the second half before Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson would see what he’d been waiting for.
“These freshmen started leaving it all out on the floor. They were starting to gel for the first time,” said Stephenson who is in his sixth-year as top Cat for the NJCAA Region XVII program. The young GNTC roster comes complete with ten true freshmen.
November and December is traditionally a time for the Cats to try different combinations of the line-up to see what works best before region play begins each January. Well, at the 15-minute mark, a combination including first-year Cats Tre Vaughn Bostic (Sonoraville), Hunter Ivester (Trion), Cody Cochran (Gordon Lee) and Trea Covington (LaFayette) blew through the Piedmont (1-2)starting five time and time again.
Rejected shots at just the right moments helped spur on the charge. Bostic opened things up with a monster block under the basket. In an unlikely pair just one year ago, former Trion and LaFayette standouts Ivester and Covington converged on Piedmont leading scorer Mike Key to reject a shot into the cheap seats. Several steals and forced turnovers by Quinton Cotton (Model) and Ivester in the backcourt helped cut the once 21-point gap to nine in just four minutes.
“We have a ton of talent and speed,” said Stephenson. “They are young, though. They are trying to figure out how to work together best within the system. It’s starting to come, slowly but surely.”
A project in the works for Georgia Northwestern had a bit of wake-up call Thursday night, as well. 6-foot-6 freshman Jordan Robinson came in for play late in the second half and made his presence known with some physical play, including a drive through two Piedmont post players for a bucket and a free throw in the final minutes.
Next up for the Road Cats is Trinity Baptist Friday afternoon. “We are going to take these guys out for a trip around Nashville first,” said Stephenson. “Maybe we’ll show them some things they probably haven’t seen before. It’s about coaching and teaching young men before coaching and teaching basketball.”
Georgia Northwestern competes in the N JCAA’s Region XVII and awards all students free admission to home games with student i.d. For more information on Bobcats Athletics at Georgia Northwestern, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706.764.3813 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia Northwestern (49) – Alex Miller 16, Bostic 6, Cochran, Quinton Cotton 10, Covington, Ivester 7, Jackson, Johnson 2, Olsen, Reynolds 2, Robinson 2, Todd 4.
Piedmont International (60) – Summers 8, Leonard 8, Mike Key 21, Gant 8, Valentine 4, Worles 2, Neal 7, Hsu 2.
Halftime Score: 37-22, Piedmont International.