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December 27, 2012

Cook kicks off McDonald’s Invitational with win over Toombs

TIFTON — The Cook Hornets kicked off the third annual McDonald’s Invitational Classic in Tifton Thursday with a victory over the Toombs County Bulldogs. It was the first of seven games on the slate for the first day of action.

The game between the two schools saw a reunion between coaches Tommy Blackshear of Cook and Keary Brownlee of Toombs. Brownlee had played for Blackshear at Tift County and had also served as an assistant before taking the reigns in Lyons.

The game started off evenly, with the Hornets holding a one-point lead after the opening quarter, but soon started dominating. It was 25-14 in their favor at the half and 40-20 after three. The Bulldogs would win the fourth quarter, but it was too late and Cook took the 57-42 win.

Thomas Rountree and Rakeem Battle each had 14 to pace Cook. Matt Hall was tops for Toombs with 12 points.

The South Cobb Eagles had a similarly easy time with their game against the West Orange (Fla.) Warriors.

South Cobb, located in Austell, was up by seven — 20-13 — after the opening frame, but an offensive explosion in the second saw them put the game nearly out of reach, as they returned to the lockerroom with a commanding 40-21 lead. West Orange found a bit more offense in the third, but were unable to cut into the lead as the Eagles outscored them in every quarter for the easy 77-45 finish.

Aaryion Browning led South Cobb’s balanced offense with 13 points. The Warriors’ Jay R. Perkins led them with 11.

Only one game in the early action of the McDonald’s Invitational came down to the wire and that was the contest between the Sol C. Johnson Atomsmashers of Savannah and the Archer Tigers from Lawrenceville.

Archer, who came with a 9-1 record, came out on top 77-76.

The game was close throughout. Johnson held a 17-16 lead after eight minutes, but the Tigers were on top after eight more, 37-34. Both scored 23 in the third quarter to make it a 60-57 contest in favor of Archer for the final quarter. Johnson scored 19 and held their opposition to 17, but it was not quite enough.

T. Quarterman was Johnson’s leader, scoring 24. Nafis Floyd also had 24 for Archer.

The first girls game of the night between Valdosta’s Lady Wildcats and the Crisp County Lady Cougars threatened to be a low-scoring one, but both teams found a rhythm in the middle of the third quarter.

Crisp was down 19-6 after the first quarter, but pulled to within five points at halftime. Valdosta had extended their lead to 36-26 in the middle of the third quarter, but went on a scoring rampage to close out the game. The lead was 18 after the third and finished 67-45.

Stormm Phillips finished with 18 for Valdosta. She was joined in double digits by Shaneika Smith, 11, and Terri Oglesby, 10. N. Oliver had 11 for the Lady Cougars.

The first night was scheduled to close out with a boys game between the Mill Creek Hawks and Valdosta Hornets and the Tift County Lady Devils tangling with the Cook Lady Hornets.

Tomorrow’s games will feature teams from Nashville, Tenn., (Pearl-Cohn), Winter Garden, Fla. (West Orange) and Georgia schools from Cook, Toombs County, Randolph-Clay, Northside-Warner Robins, South Cobb, Valdosta, Savannah, Marist and Archer with Mill Creek scheduled to play Tift at 9:30 p.m. in boys action.

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