That strong start proved that the Golden Eagles had what it took to be successful, and the team is once again showcasing that ability in 2012-13, off to the best start of the program’s young history.
The Golden Eagles are 15-1 on the season and ranked 17th in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I poll released Tuesday. After a season-opening loss to Cleveland State Community College, Chattahoochee Tech has won a team-record 15 consecutive games, breaking the mark set by the 2009-10 team that finished the year on a 14-game winning streak. It’s also the first time the Golden Eagles have entered the national poll.
“This start is really gratifying in a lot of ways,” said David Archer, who doubles as coach and athletic director for the Marietta-based school, which splits its home games between facilities in Smyrna and Cartersville, where it has a satellite campus. “We were unsure of what kind of team we had going into this season. But, over time, we’ve figured out our identity and we’re a team that likes to win ugly. That’s what we’ve been able to do.”
When Chattahoochee Tech wins, it’s either been by 15 or more points or by fewer than six. The team is also unbeaten at 8-0 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association, having topped 14th-ranked Middle Georgia College 63-58 on Wednesday.
“We were down by 10 points with 11 minutes in that game and came back and scratched and clawed for the win,” Archer said. “Our identity is to fight. We have a motto of ‘Focus, flow, fight.’ We feel like if we’re focused, the game will flow and we’ll fight as hard as we can to win.
“Last year, we were talented and had the size but just never got it all together. We lost some games in the final seconds because of mistakes and buzzer-beaters. We’ve turned that around this year.”
Archer credits the success of his team’s guard play for some of the turnaround. Chemistry has also played an important role in the Golden Eagles’ great start.
“This year, our guard play has been more mature, and we’re making better decisions,” Archer said. “Our conference is really strong and we have to have those mature decisions throughout the game to get the win.
“Plus, the guys enjoy each other’s company and there haven’t been any issues. They’re playing hard for each other, which shows on the court.”
Entering their previous game with Middle Georgia, the Golden Eagles were led in scoring by Malcom Riley (17.6 points per game), Sean Tate (13.0) and former Walton High School standout Chevelan Pearson (12.8). Marietta High product Jay Ellis was averaging 9.6 points.
Chattahoochee Tech has its rematch against Cleveland State today in Chattanooga, Tenn., before facing a 0-15 Georgia Highlands team in Rome Sunday in conference play.
A strong finish to the week could see the Golden Eagles climb even higher in the rankings. The ultimate goal, however, is winning the conference tournament championship and advancing to the 24-team national tournament.
“If we can get those wins this weekend, we should get another big jump,” Archer said. “I think we can go as far as this team wants to go. College scouts are saying we have a shot at going far, and we like our chances. We’re just figuring out ways to win games and to meet those daily goals along the way.”