It wasn’t a track meet. The Johnson Knights just made it look that way.
Johnson used a 28-4 first-half spurt to take control in rolling to a 76-46 victory against county rival Chestatee in Oakwood on Friday night. In the process, the Knights ran their overall record to 22-0 and improved to 6-0 in Region 8-AAAA play.
“When they get in a rhythm in transition, that’s the way they want to play,” Chestatee coach Chad Pittman said.
Johnson poured in a dozen 3-pointers as six different Knights connected from long distance.
The margin was 14-10 in Johnson’s favor late in the first quarter before an Andrew Sims layup jumpstarted the massive run.
Five players contributed to the scoring blitz, which included a flurry of fast-break baskets and 3-pointers. Ty Cockfield had a pair of dunks, the second one capping the spurt and pushing the Knights’ edge to 42-14.
“They’re just so versatile and such good players, it’s hard to pick and choose your battles,” Pittman said.
Cockfield finished with a game-high 28 points, but one of his best plays of the night might have been the laser-sharp pass he threaded from the perimeter in to senior Jerry Mays for a layup in the fourth quarter.
“I tell you what I loved about Ty late in the game when he was in there, he was just trying to get everybody involved, and that’s a special kind of guy, teammate when he does stuff like that,” Johnson coach Jeff Steele said. “It means a lot to me that he’s become that kind of guy.”
Roderick English pitched in 16 points for Johnson and was often the driving force behind the Knights’ breakneck pace. Laderius Odem added nine points for Johnson.
Cockfield (4 treys), English (2), Michael Garcia (2), Mitchell Dunham (2), Dae’monte Nicholson (1) and Odem (1) all connected on 3s for the Knights. Steele said he has his team shoot more in late-season practices because his system is in place and to minimize the chance for injuries.
“We shoot a lot,” Steele said. “And it’s showing.”
Steele said his team improved its efforts on the boards in the second half after allowing 12 offensive rebounds in the first two quarters.
After trailing 44-21 at the half, the War Eagles played Johnson evenly in the third quarter as each team scored 18 points. Pittman said his team has to build off Tuesday’s victory against North Oconee and mostly strong first and third quarters Friday.
“We did the things that we had to do to be successful,” said Pittman of those stretches.
Hunter Creamer tallied 20 points to pace Chestatee (12-12, 3-4), and Mikey Petraroi added 12.
The War Eagles host county rival North Hall on Tuesday night in its regular-season finale, a pivotal game for region tournament seeding. Johnson visits Stephens County on Tuesday and Monroe Area on Friday to close out the regular season.
CHESTATEE GIRLS 57, JOHNSON 28: The Lady War Eagles ramped up their defense in the second half to break open a contest that was 28-18 through two quarters.
“We decided we were going to turn up the pressure just a little bit here and play better half-court defense,” Chestatee coach Web Daniel said.
Tyler Bennett scored five of her game-high 17 points in a 13-3 run that spanned most of the third quarter and made it 41-21. Bennett also had seven rebounds for Chestatee (14-10, 4-3), which extended its winning streak to three games.
Dawndria Bell chipped in eight points and Eramiss Hernandez seven for the War Eagles, with Macey Jarrard, Brooklyn Popham and Kayla Watson contributing six apiece.
Chestatee has allowed its opponents 31, 25 and 28 points in its current winning streak.
Kimmie Brady, Christy Smith and Katie Wiese scored six points each for the Lady Knights (5-19, 0-6).
“We did a lot better job tonight breaking the press, and that’s really killed us at times,” Johnson coach Tiffany Kirkland said. “We’ve worked and worked and worked on that. I was happy with the effort on that.”