Freshmen Cats Claw Way To Overtime Win In Rossville

(The R.A.C., Rossville, GA) – Shooting a blazing 53-percent from the three-
point line, Johnson University lit up the Georgia Northwestern scoreboards all night long. But defensive pressure and the unexpected offensive output from freshmen Quinton Cotton and Tavish Reynolds helped the Cats hold on at home in overtime, 86-84.

Cotton (Model) and Reynolds (Sonoraville) led the freshman-heavy Cats with 22 and 17 points respectively in Georgia Northwestern’s third win of the season. All-Region and All-District NJCAA player sophomore Alex Miller (Gordon Central) was held to 10 points and five boards. Fellow post player sophomore Bud Todd (Trion) would foul out with only eight points on the night.

Freshman 5-foot-11 guard Hunter Ivester provided the spark plug for the Bobcats (3-5) with eight points, two steals, and 13 rebounds from his guard position.

Leading the way for the Evangels (0-10) was Knoxville, Tennessee native Josiah Rechenbach who went lights out from long-distance dropping seven-of-nine from three-point land. One year ago, it was Bobcat Ben Patton who set the three-point record against this same four-year college program at their Knoxville gymnasium going nine-of-11 from long-range.

The non-region game between the NJCAA’s Bobcats and the NCCAA’s Evangels was neck-and-neck at the break, 38-36, Johnson University.

However in the second stanza, play became much more physical as both teams turned up the tempo. Johnson quickly got out to an eight-point lead in the first ten minutes of the second half. However, a Cats timeout at the 12-minute mark would give the home team the fire they needed.

Full-court pressure by the Cats led to multiple turnovers and the eventual reverse lay-up in traffic by freshman Richard Olsen to give Georgia Northwestern the lead, 60-59 at the nine-minute mark.

A late lay-up by 6-foot-8 Kelechi Ibe knotted things up at 74-all with eight seconds remaining in overtime. With just seconds remaining, Ivester would drive the paint and kick an outlet pass in the home stand corner to an open Trea Covington for a three-pointer to win that would just miss the mark.

Johnson would jump out to a five-point lead in regulation. However, with one minute to go, full court pressure from the Cats would lead to a half-court trap by Ivester and Cotton. The two would swipe the ball away and finish with an “and-one” to help give Georgia Northwestern the lead for good at 85-84.

The trouble spot for Georgia Northwestern (3-5) would come at the charity stripe. The Cats would send three different players to the line in the final 17.6 seconds of overtime and would go one-of-six from the line.

After the last set of missed freebies, the Evangels had 94-feet to go for a chance to win. A half-court pass to the Nigerian-born Ibe led to a set of passes from one wing to another where a waiting Charlie Freed would launch at the buzzer from three-point land and would see his shot hit the back of the rim and bounce off.

“We were just proud that they didn’t give up,” said Georgia Northwestern Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson. “This is a win we felt we needed. Now, we are going to work on getting the next one next week.”

For the first-time this season, three-pointers made some headlines for the Cats as they went 9-of-18 from outside. “Quinton (Cotton) hit a pair, Jordan (Robinson) dropped a tough one with pressure on him, and Tavish (Reynolds) really locked in going 3-of-6,” said Stephenson.

The Bobcats will host Covenant College on December 5 for their next action. NJCAA Region XVII play begins January 5 for Georgia Northwestern when they face Southern Crescent Tech in Rome, Georgia.

Georgia Northwestern (86) – Covington 6, Quinton Cotton 22, Ivester 8, Todd 8, Alex Miller 10, Bostic 4, Robinson 4, Tavish Reynolds 17, Olsen 4, Johnson.

Johnson University (84) – Bowen 9, Quinones, Cody Wagner 18, Crowell, Asbury 6, Freed 7, Josiah Rechenbach 22, Crow 5, Kelechi Ibe 13, Smith.

Halftime Score: 38-36, Johnson University.