OAKWOOD — The Johnson boys make it a point to get the ball to sophomore Ty Cockfield with room to get creative.
And during the entire second quarter of Friday’s game against Chestatee in Oakwood, Cockfield was constantly wiggling past defenders and knocking down mid-range shots en route to a 104-61 win.
Cockfield scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the second quarter as the Knights (19-4, 6-0 Region 8-AAAA) remain at the top of the region with just two to play in the regular season.
“This was his kind of game tonight,” Johnson coach Jeff Steele said. “If he gets in space, he’s really hard to handle.”
Even with the win, the regular season title and No. 1 seed to the region tournament isn’t locked up quite yet for Johnson.
The Knights visit Walnut Grove on Tuesday, followed by the finale against Eastside on Thursday in Oakwood. Still, it’s exciting for Steele to know that his program is right where it wants to be, knowing that it will also have the region tournament on its home court starting in two weeks.
“I told the team at the end of the game that we’ve come this far, we don’t want to slip up now,” Steele said. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Cockfield was the main weapon behind Johnson’s six quick points to open the second quarter, then again during a 17-4 run before halftime. His final basket of the first half probably had the highest degree of difficulty.
Already up 47-24 with 1:20 remaining before the half, Cockfield took a pass from about 10 feet away from the goal, turned with a hand in his face and drained the shot as he fell backward.
“That mid-range shot is his strength,” Steele said.
Cockfield also scored twice off of War Eagles (11-12, 5-2) turnovers in the opening minute of the second quarter, and then put up his final six points in the fourth quarter. Along with his 25 points, Cockfield had five rebounds and five assists.
Cockfield says that beating another region challenger like Chestatee late in the regular season is a huge boost.
“This win gives up a lot of hype,” said Cockfield, who scored 31 earlier this season against the War Eagles. “They (Chestatee) said they were going to come in and beat us, then they came in and jumped around on our court.
“Beating them gives us a ton of momentum.”
Carter Cagle finished with 18 points for the Knights, including a pair of 3-pointers in both the first and second period. Johnson scored 33 points in the second quarter, and it hit six 3s in the first half. Johnson finished with six scorers in double figures.
James Hodges had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights, and Roderick English finished with 12. Montrell McKenzie (10 points, 22 rebounds) and Drew Dunham (10 points) were also in double digits scoring for Johnson.
“Our team executed the game plan very well and I’m very proud of their effort,” Steele said.
Leading 24-11 early in the second quarter, Johnson put the game out of reach with six quick points. Following a miss by English on his second free throw attempt, Cockfield rebounded and put in the basket.
Then immediately after a steal on Chestatee’s next possession, English took the pass and scored on a layup. Following another War Eagles turnover, Cockfield scored, making the lead 30-11 with 6:35 remaining in the opening half.
Jordan Degraff led Chestatee with 14 points.
Chestatee visits Pickens at 7:30 tonight; Johnson visits Walnut Grove at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
CHESTATEE GIRLS 54, JOHNSON 31: Sam Brown and Maegan Kenimer each tied for a game-high 14 points for the Lady War Eagles (18-5, 5-1). Chestatee led 19-5 after the first quarter, and extended its lead to 39-10 going into halftime. Sarah Williams led Johnson with 10 points.