The Apalachee High School boys basketball team was coming off a tough, close win against Cedar Shoals Friday night.
The Wildcats were welcoming county and region rival Winder-Barrow less than 24 hours later. Would AHS be ready, physically and mentally for yet another region contest? The answer was a resounding yes.
Coach Kevin Morris saw his team race out to a 14-2 start, during which leading scorer Kamar Baldwin had yet to record his first basket. It was simply a sign of things to come for the Wildcats who would cruise to a 71-47 win as they upped their record to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Region 8-AAAAA.
“If we had been playing anyone but Winder-Barrow then the back-to-back games might have been an issue,” Morris said. “However, we were ready to play and took care of business.”
Baldwin, who would eventually finish with 23 points, scored his first field goal with 3:25 left in the opening quarter. By the time the first eight minutes were over, the Wildcats led 21-6.
Morris stresses a balanaced attack and the coach was not concerned at all that his team had already scored 14 points before Baldwin registered his first two points. In fact, he saw it as a positive.
“They were trying to stop him so we had others step up and make shots,” Morris said.
In fact, AHS scored four 3-pointers in the game’s first four minutes to set the tone early.
By the time the night was over, Alantae Billings had scored 13 points while Petr Mitrik, Kent Knowles and Joey German each added six points. A total of 11 players scored for the Wildcats.
For WBHS, no player finished in double figures. Brandon Hayes and Chandon Sullivan both finished with eight points while Andre Jackson and Dre King finished with six points each.
“Apalachee came out on fire and we couldn’t do much about it,” WBHS coach Ron Garren said. “It’s a learning experience for us right now.”
AHS led 39-17 at halftime. Morris played his entire bench, not looking to run the score up.
Both WBHS and AHS will compete in a tournament hosted by East Jackson High School beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday.