Bobcats leaning on defense, chemistry in 2017-18
After opening its season with a tough loss against a nationally ranked Queens (N.C.), GC men’s basketball rattled off back-to-back wins against Emmanuel (Ga.) and Paine College before falling to Clark Atlanta on the road.
GC responded after losing their season opener with a 95-86 victory over Emmanuel (Ga.). The Bobcats stifled the Lions in the first half holding them to just 26 points. In the second half, Emmanuel made a comeback after being down by 26 points with just under ten minutes to go, and they eventually cut the de cit to single digits.
When asked what they needed to change in that shaky second half, senior Desmond Mitchell-LaFlam said they needed to execute on the offensive end and not rush their sets.
The Bobcats were led by junior forward Isaac Thomas, who scored 22 points and tallied 12 rebounds on the game. Senior guard Brice Booker provided a spark off the bench for the Bobcats, adding 16 points. Freshman
Chapin Rierson also hit double figures, scoring 11.
Freshman Jordan Thomas helped Georgia College cruise past Paine College scoring 18 points on their way to an 83-51 victory for their second win in the season. Mitchell-LaFlam packed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Third-year head coach Mark Gainous spoke about how all the goals for the season are set by the players, rather than the coaching staff.
“One of the goals that they have is they want to win the Peach Belt Conference,” Gainous said.
In order to accomplish that goal, the Bobcats will look to lean on their strong defense, as they have high expectations on that end of the court.
“As a team, we want to try and be the number one defense in the country,” Thomas said.
Another key for the Bobcats this season is a selfless team attitude. Thomas mentioned that none of the players really have individual goals for the year, and everyone seems to be focused on the team working as a unit. Gainous also said he was excited about the attitude his team has shown already this season.
“One thing I like about this group is they’re very unselfish,” Gainous said. “The chemistry has been pretty good, and as the season goes on, I expect it to get even better.”
The Peach Belt Conference appears to be a highly competitive league this year with UNC- Pembroke topping the preseason coaches’ poll. The coaches predicted GC to finish seventh in the conference, a higher ranking than it has received in past years, according to Gainous. However, no game is a given for the Bobcats.
“We can win or lose any night,” Thomas said.
Gainous predicted that there won’t be a dominant team in the conference this season and that it will be a very tight race for the top spot.
GC has already seen multiple freshmen stepping into major roles on the team this season.
Freshman Jordan Thomas, a recent graduate of Heritage High School is currently leading the team in scoring, averaging just over 12 points per game. T
Three freshmen are in the top seven in minutes per game with Chapin Pierson, leading the way averaging 23 minutes per game. Jordan Thomas (22.7) and Justin Cave (15.7) follow closely behind.
When asked about his early impact on the team in just his first season, Rierson gave all credit to the veterans on the team. “It’s awesome,” Rierson said. “I love playing with these older guys. They’re very experienced. I just come in, and really they do most of the work. I just benefit off them.”
The Bobcats travel to Lander Nov. 27 before returning to the Centennial Center for their conference home opener against Augusta Dec. 2.