Cass senior Jacquez Fountain hasn’t grown up playing against Woodland players all his life like many of his teammates. He transferred to the school this school year from Mississippi and scored 17 points in a 49-46 win over the Wildcats early in the season.
Fountain nearly doubled that total on Tuesday with 33 points, and his team nearly played twice as well as the first meeting, with the Colonels cruising to a 64-46 home victory over the Wildcats on senior night.
“To have a kid like that, who is probably right around 6-4, at the next level, he’s going to be a strong, physical wing, because he’s a skilled kid,” Cass coach Sean Glaze said of Fountain. “For us, he’s just so active on both ends of the floor. That activity and that toughness has really begun to rub off on our kids.”
Fountain’s soft finishing around the basket combined with his ability to crash the boards and pick up second-chance points allowed Cass to build a healthy advantage right from the get-go. He made 12 points in the opening period to help the Colonels build a 20-4 lead after one.
Defensively, Cass (12-11, 7-7 Region 7-AAAAA) clamped down on Woodland’s two leading scorers, Dawson Wilkins and Hunter Johnson. The Colonels made the duo work for everything they got, which included 11 first-half points from Johnson.
Wilkins and Johnson each finished with 16 points for the Wildcats, while Jaylen Ballard added 10. Only four Woodland players scored in the game.
“I thought we got a lot of good stops defensively,” Glaze said of the key to building the early advantage. “We blocked out a whole lot better early than we late. …
“We got to where we were able to feed the ball inside and get the looks that we wanted. That helped us a little bit, along with our defense.”
The teams played evenly through the second quarter, affording Cass a 34-18 halftime edge. Every time Woodland (4-17, 1-12) tried to make a run, Glaze’s men had an answer.
That answer often came in the form of Fountain. He had 11 points in the third quarter, including a breakaway dunk just before the buzzer.
Fountain’s one-handed slam gave the Colonels a 53-29 lead entering the final period. The Wildcats, who saw an incredible rally come up just short in the teams’ first matchup, crept within 14 points in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get any closer.
“We’ve worked on closing out games,” Glaze said. “Whether it’s Woodland or Rome or Villa Rica, we’ve done the job to build a lead. We need to make sure we do a smart enough job to be able to keep a lead.
“That’s been a process. I thought we were better tonight than we were [in the past], and I think we’ll be better next week than we were today.”
With two region games remaining — versus Villa Rica (Friday) and at Hiram (next Tuesday) — Cass will look to be at the top of its game entering the region tournament. The Colonels will also hope to be back to full strength after playing Tuesday without two of their top players in Jordan Ford and C.J. Pipkin.
It’s looking more and more likely that Cass will feature in the Nos. 4-5 matchup in the first round of the region tourney. That would leave the Colonels with a good shot at returning to the state tournament for the second straight year.
“Hopefully, we continue to improve,” Glaze said. “We’ve got a good group of kids, and I don’t want to have to stop coaching them.”