The fans sat or stood shoulder-to-shoulder, anticipating – and hoping – for highlights in the showdown.
What they saw was a deep Glenn Hills squad continue to rebound and force turnovers to get by Aquinas’ stars in the Spartans’ 66-51 win Tuesday evening at Aquinas’ gym.
The game featured two of the area’s best teams, and it turned out to be yet another impressive win for the 8-0 Spartans.
“The win does a lot. We’ve been battle-tested already, so it’s another game for us to get tested,” said Glenn Hills coach Travis McRae, whose team had beaten Laney, Allatoona and others before beating the Irish.
The Spartans’ length and athleticism were enough to offset Aquinas’ Ahmed Hill and Michael Scott, as the duo combined for 37 points. The two tried to keep the Irish close, as an impressive drive by Hill in the first quarter saw him dribble the length of the floor – even keeping it just above the ground – as he maintained control despite all the defensive attention. Hill, who usually approaches the 30s in points, ended with 18 points.
Besides keeping the Irish’s leading scorer in check, Glenn Hills also didn’t stop grabbing all those important rebounds late as it extended the lead. Aaron Williamson did score 11 points in a sparkling first quarter to get to 21 points and give his team the early spark, but Aubrey McRae and Naquan Turner added clutch points.
The Spartans never trailed, going up 20-10 in the first quarter. Aquinas did get to within 42-38 in the third quarter, but the Irish had only four more field goals the rest of the way.
In the girls game, Glenn Hills coasted to a 53-25 win thanks to a dominant second half.
Up only four at the break, the Lady Spartans used pressure on inbound plays to get steals as desperate Aquinas passes found only blue jerseys.
Such plays allowed Tanisha Brown and her teammates to get easy scores inside. Brown had a game-high 18 points as she also was physical around the basket to get second-chance points.
“In the second half, we changed it up a bit,” Glenn Hills coach Bernard Bowman said.
“We got into man-to-man defense, and we went with it.”