For Chattahoochee head coach Kacey Martin, that’s exactly what he’s seen from his veteran bunch that, despite a pair of critical injuries, is undefeated in 2013.
Since the calendar flipped to the New Year, the Cougars have mowed down 11 straight opponents, nine region foes, and pushed their win streak to 12 games overall — the school’s longest since stringing together 13 in a row in 2010-2011.
“Our team has really rallied around each other,” said Martin of his squad, which is approaching 20 wins for a third straight season. “We have stepped it up a great deal on defense since the start of the year, we’re playing as a team, sharing the ball and not taking bad shots.”
Martin’s team entered last night’s contest with South Forsyth 18-5 overall and 11-1 in 6AAAAAA. A win against the War Eagles last night or West Forsyth on Friday would assure them of the No. 1 overall seed in next week’s region tournament.
Their success comes despite what could have been a pair of devastating injuries on their front line — losing starting post players Trey Archambeau and Ben Napoletan for the season in mid-January. Archambeau, a 6-foot-7 senior, was averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game while Napoletan, a 6-foot-4- senior, was a key post defender.
“It forced us to go to a little bit of a smaller lineup with Jordan Wilkins and Jordan Turmon in the post,” said Martin, noting that both players were undersized in the paint at 6-foot-2. “But they have done a great job of playing hard and playing well in there.
“Really that’s been the mentality of this whole team. Everyone has picked up the slack and stepped up for each other with great group effort. It’s a special bunch we have and it has been great to watch them come together.”
Chattahoochee’s season includes a pair of wins over region-rival Alpharetta, a Final Four team a year ago that is expected to be their biggest hurdle towards claiming a second straight region title next week. The Cougars beat the Raiders 68-58 and December and 74-71 in a double-overtime thriller Jan. 18.
“The biggest goal now is just to keep the intensity level where it has been,” said Martin when asked about his team’s chances in the eight-team tournament. “We know the region tournament will be very competitive, but if we can keep our same approach I think we have a good shot.”