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Hooch Hangs On for Win in One-Point Thriller

Cougars advance to region championship with 48-47 win over Cass.

It was only a week ago that Chattahoochee star Jaron Blossomgame committed to Clemson. If anyone from Clemson was watching Blossomgame Friday night, they're probably drooling now. Thanks to 20 points from the Cougar junior – including a three-pointer that broke a 45-45 tie with 1:45 left in the game – Chattahoochee was able to outlast Cass 48-47. The win means the Cougars will host a first-round state tournament game on Feb. 26 while Cass will start on the road.

For the Colonels, it was a game of missed opportunities, including their final shot.

Down 48-47, Cass inbounded the ball with 2.7 seconds left in the game and a chance to win, but a Tarris Batiste shot from the corner fell just short. Cass coach Greg Scott said the play worked, the shot just didn't fall. "We had two things drawn up," Scott said after the game. "We had a guy coming to the top and we had another guy coming off a double screen to the corner [Batiste]."

In the game's final minute, thanks to three offensive rebounds, Cass had four chances to take the lead, but they came up empty on all four. "During that wild scramble [in the final minute], we had a few opportunities to win and they just didn't go in," Scott said. "It was like there was a lid [on the basket].

In the game's early going, it looked like it was going to be a Cass blowout. The Colonels jumped out to a 6-0 lead and the game was already five minutes old before Chattahoochee scored their first basket. "They came out and played really hard," Cougar coach Kacey Martin said of Cass. "They were making plays defensively, they were limiting us to one shot and for the most part, it was a low percentage shot. They did a good job coming out."

Although the Cougars were behind 6-0 early, they were able to surge to a 28-24 lead by halftime. The game was tied at 37 after three quarters and that's when Blossomgame took over.

The junior scored seven of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including the big three that gave Chattahoochee the lead for good.

Besides Blossomgame, Chattahoochee also got strong nights from Markus Terry and Jamie Frost. Terry added nine to the Hooch scoring effort while Frost chipped in eight.

Trey Walker led Cass in the scoring department with 16 points. He was followed by Jay Stephens, who finished the game with 12. A Stephens basket with 1:16 left cut the Chattahoochee lead from 48-45 to 48-47.

Up next for the Colonels is a Saturday afternoon consolation game against Creekview. Cass won the only regular meeting between the two schools back in December. That game is slated to tip off at 4:30 p.m. from Creekview.

Chattahoochee will be playing for the region 7-AAAA championship today against undefeated Sequoyah. The Chiefs beat Hooch 60-56 earlier this season. The game is set to tip off from Creekview at 7 p.m. on Saturday. 

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