Having dropped five of six contests entering Friday night, the Bremen High School boys' basketball team got a much-needed region 'W' to close the regular season by sizing up rival Haralson County for a 56-32 victory.
It was all Bremen (9-15, 6-7 Region 6-AAA) from the opening tip in the cross-county clash as forwards Jason Houston and Charlie Crafton set the tone by dominating the host Rebels (3-20, 0-13) on the glass.
Down 19-6 entering the second quarter, Haralson County wouldn't go down quietly as point guard Bryson King nailed a pair of 3-point jumpers, while forward Johnathon Housen got busy in the paint. However, the Blue Devils continued to capitalize on second-chance opportunities to take a 32-19 lead into the half.
With an already sizable advantage to begin the third, Crafton and Co. boosted their lead by starting the period on a 9-0 run while holding the Rebels to only four points during the entire eight-minute stretch. The junior finished the contest with a double-double effort of 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Blue Devils sledded to the 24-point region win.
"It's nice to have size and we wanted to use it as an advantage. They don't have a post presence that matches our size, so we wanted to hammer the high post and get them out of position. I think we did a pretty good job executing," Bremen head coach Josh Carter said.
"We've needed a win like this. To come out in that third quarter and hold them to four points was huge. We've competed all season and have been so close in our games. Out of 12 losses that we've had, 11 of them we were up at one point in the fourth quarter, so being able to close this one out was huge."
First-year Rebel head coach Anthony Angle agreed that the constant scoring opportunities that the Blue Devils were able to create in the paint is what contributed to their Friday night setback.
"A lot of it came down to the offensive glass and we just didn't box out," Angle said. "They got a lot of second-chance points and cutbacks."
Locked in as the No. 5 seed of the South subregion heading into next week's Region 6-AAA tournament, the Rebels will learn their opponent once the seedings are finalized on Saturday. Angle is looking forward to having his guys prepared for whoever they face.
"We'll have two different strategies depending on who we play. It's between Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe and North Murray. They do similar things in some areas and complete polar opposite things in other areas," Angle said. "We'll come up with a game plan when we find out who it is, get a couple of practices in and just go out and play."
The same mentality applies to Carter and his Blue Devils heading into next week, whose Friday night rivalry win couldn't have come at a better time.
"Our kids' spirits are high and their morale is high," Carter said. "We know that we can hang with just about anybody in our region."