Alexander and New Manchester exchanged baskets in the first quarter. The Cougars jumped out to an early 4-0 lead but the Jaguars came back to tie. The two teams then went back and fourth until New Manchester’s Ryan Edwards hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to give his team a 14-9 lead after the first eight minutes.
The second quarter opened just like the first, but it would not stay that way for long as the younger, newer New Manchester squad took aim at its bigger, older brother.
Up 20-16, the Jaguars went on a 9-0 run capped by two free throws from Nashon Dortch with 2:58 left to play in the half. New Manchester added another 6-0 run to go up 37-23. Dortch again finished the streak, this time with a three point play consisting of a layup and a foul.
Free throws were the running theme of the second quarter as the Jaguars toed the line seven times and hit 12-of-13 shots. Edwards led the pack going 6-for-6. Shortly after a pair of Edwards free throws, the game went into the half with New Manchester leading 41-25.
The Jaguars’ Joe Boyer opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to widen New Manchester’s lead to 19, a lead they would flirt with over the next eight minutes. The only thing that kept the Jaguars from putting the game on ice was the play of Alexander’s Karim Mawuenyega. Mawuenyega totaled nine of the Cougars’ 14 points. New Manchester ended the third quarter up 54-39.
The third quarter would be more of the same for both teams. New Manchester would widen their lead to 24 points late in the quarter. With 1:33 to go, Alexander emptied their bench and seconds later the Jaguars would do the same as they left Cobb County with the victory.
New Manchester was led by four double-digit scorers, including Dortch, Edwards, Boyer, and Tre Sledge. Dortch led the Jags with 18 points. Sledge followed with 17. Edwards added 13 and Boyer netted 11.
Alexander’s Mawuenyega led all scorers with 24 points. Greg Spencer added 13.
Alexander ended their season with a 20-6 record under first year head coach Jason Slate. New Manchester improved to 14-12 in their inaugural season under coach David Cottrell and will play seventh seeded Lithia Springs in the semi-finals at New Manchester High School on Friday. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m.