C.A. Johnson has accomplished one of its primary goal this season, but the Hornets are working on the other.
The Region 4-1A champion Hornets on Tuesday night took the first step on what it hopes is a long postseason journey, defeating visiting Buford 63-44 in the first round of the Class A state playoffs.
"Our first goal was to win the region, and I'm real proud of the guys for getting that done," said fifth-year C.A. Johnson coach Louis Dreher, who cut his teeth as an assistant under legendary George Glymph during the glory days of Eau Claire basketball.
"Now we want to win at least two home games in the playoffs and hopefully keep going from there. Tonight was a good start, but we still have a lot of work to do."
After a slow start, the Hornets (15-9) pressured the Yellow Jackets into too many turnovers and forced shots that led to the end of their season. Buford built an early 9-3 lead while C.A. Johnson missed four of its first five shots and turned the ball over four times.
"I though I had the guys ready to go, but we kind of stumbled around for a while until we got settled," Dreher said.
The Hornets cut Buford's edge to 11-10 by the end of the first quarter and went on a 19-8 run in the second quarter to take a 29-17 advantage into halftime. Late 3-pointers by Aaron Hagin and Davon Dash were the exclamation points. C.A. Johnson delivered the knockout blow with a 21-10 burst in the third quarter.
Balanced production has been the Hornets' hallmark this season, and it was no different Tuesday. Hagin was the nominal Hornets leader with 13 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Daniel Hopkins came off the bench to score 10 points (8-for-10 at the free-throw line). Dash chipped in nine points and five rebounds. Sterlin Rose and Gerald Snooks both contributed seven points, three rebounds and three steals. Rose, the point guard, also had three assists.
"When we're going right, we have a lot of options," Dreher said. "In our system, if its run properly, everybody gets a chance to score and contribute."
C.A. Johnson moves on to Friday's second round and a home date with Ninety Six, which beat Landrum on Tuesday.
B: Jamison 8, Brown 4, Williams 8, Segee 6, Blakeney 1, Chambers 3, Truesdale 3, McGriff 8, Ehtridge 4. CAJ: Dash 9, Goodman 2, Aaron Hagin 13, Daniel Hopkins 10, Rose 7, Snooks 7, Martin 3, Eaddy 2.