Johnson’s boys produced a region preview to whet the appetite of its faithful Friday for what they hope is a long and successful season.
Knights senior Ty Cockfield scored 25 points, and Johnson nailed eight 3-point baskets as part of a 84-41 win against Region 8-AAAA rival Stephens County in Oakwood.
Although both play in the same league, this meeting didn’t count toward the region standings, according to Knights coach Jeff Steele. Johnson’s trip to Stephens County on Feb. 3 will count as the two programs’ only region meeting for the 2014-15 season.
Senior Roderick English chipped in 19 points for Johnson. His dunk and foul shot early in the second quarter gave the Knights (7-0) a double-digit lead for the first time on the night. Before halftime, Johnson went on a 19-4 scoring run against a young Indians program, playing largely freshmen and sophomores.
For Steele, finding those parts to complement Cockfield and English will tell the story of the season. Also playing a part in the first-half scoring spurt for Johnson were Ahmad Harrison (nine points) and Mitchell Dunham, who finished the night with eight points.
“Everyone knows about Ty and Rod on our team,” Steele said. “But you have to have more that two good players to beat the really good teams.”
Not only was Cockfield a force in the paint, he also has a nice touch outside. The Knights guard hit a fade away 3-pointer with 3:30 to go in the opening half to put their lead at 37-16, then another from beyond the arc right before halftime to carry a 46-18 lead into the third quarter.
Between long shots by Cockfield, Dunham had a steal and drove it in himself for the basket.
“I felt like Ahmad Harrison is playing with more confidence, Mitchell Dunham played well and Yaz Hagins did a good job, too,” Steele said.
Leading by just a basket in the opening quarter, Dunham and English both hit 3-pointers. Late in the first quarter, Cockfield hit another basket with some finesse in the lane for an easy two points.
Johnson’s coach also commended the effort of his defense, especially in building a 28-point first-half lead.
“We just have to make sure and have everyone on the floor involved,” Cockfield said.
Johnson plays next at Cambridge on Dec. 13 in Milton. The Knights open Region 8-AAAA play Jan. 9 at Madison County.
STEPHENS COUNTY GIRLS 60, JOHNSON 34: Leslie Ulloa scored a team-high 12 points for the Lady Knights (3-3), while Sara Williams added eight points.
Lexie Cash hit consecutive 3-pointers for Stephens County in the second quarter as part of a 13-2 run. Cash finished with a game-high 17-points for the Lady Indians.
Stephens County plays host to Habersham Central tonight in Mount Airy.