After a win over Kennesaw Mountain early last week to break the skid, the Eagles came out strong against Osborne on Saturday night in the John Kelly Memorial Classic and prevailed 95-70.
The game was the last of a day-long showcase created in memory of Kelly, a former South Cobb assistant coach who died of cancer in August.
Coach Gregory Moultrie said that containing Osborne’s Anthony Glenn and Neil Berrien was key, with South Cobb holding each to nine points.
The Eagles were stellar on the free-throw line, going 31-for-38 for the game and 17-for-20 in the first half.
Senior point guard Jalen Cook was the one who got South Cobb (4-5) going early, and he ultimately finished with a team-high 19 points. Tyreem Freeman stepped up late and capped the Eagles’ scoring with a three-point play, capping his 13-point night.
“We look for (Cook) to set the tone early,” Moultrie said. “Freeman played well later in that game where we didn’t have that drop-off after the first half.”
Eleven of South Cobb’s 14 players scored against Osborne (5-7). Wesley Ingram was also in double figures for the Eagles with 12 points, Josh Holliday added nine and Antonio Noland and Anthony Showell had eight each.
Noland also led defensively with 10 rebounds.
The turning point for South Cobb was not allowing Osborne to fight its way back into the game in the third quarter after taking a 48-32 halftime lead. The Eagles opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run, highlighted by a four-point play by Holliday, giving themselves a 26-point lead to work with.
Cook then got active late in the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and he converted his own miss to add to South Cobb’s lead. He hit a pair of foul shots to stretch to lead to 72-42 during the waning seconds.
“We wanted to keep our intensity up and not drop off after halftime,” Moultrie said. “We had 16 more minutes to play after halftime and wanted to put more pressure on them in the third quarter than we did the first two quarters.”
Ten first-half turnovers prevented Osborne from establishing a rhythm. While the Cardinals shot close to 50 percent from the floor during the first two quarters, they didn’t have as many chances.
Gerry Weaver kept Osborne in contention early with 16 first-half points and finished the game with 28. D’Haire Haney joined Glenn and Berrien with nine points on the night.