Inaugural GHC Chargers Home Game
The Rome community and the GHC students finally got see all the hard work, which includes building two basketball programs and numerous gym renovations, that has gone on during the past year to make basketball at GHC a reality.
The Lady Chargers and Chargers played their first-ever home games hosting Wallace State.
Unfortunately for the fans that came to witness the historic games, only one of the GHC teams earned a victory.
The Lady Chargers rolled to a 75-61 victory to improve to 2-0, while the Chargers lost a double-digit second-half lead to fall to the Lions, 79-70.
“It was incredible to see that many people in the gym and that kind of atmosphere,” said GHC women’s coach Brandan Harrell. “There was a lot of pressure and anticipation for today, and I thought it was important for the kids to play hard for all the fans.
“And they did for most of the game,” added Harrell. “The girls really appreciated that many people coming out, and I hope we won some fans over tonight.”
Athletic director and head men’s coach Phil Gaffney wasn’t thrilled with how the Chargers’ game ended, but was excited about the historic day.
“There was a great crowd there and it was exciting,” said Gaffney. “It was very surprising because when you first start something off it takes a few years. ... It’s not like a 1,000 kids from the dorms are going to come over. Everybody we have is from the community and school community. To have that many people there was very impressive, very surprising and we’re very appreciative.”
The Lady Chargers were led by Amber Curtis who finished with a team high 17 points. GHC had five players finish with double-digit points with Seandre Lee scoring 13, Shakierya McClendon with 12, Shanique Holston finishing with 11 and Gabrielle with 10.
Former Darlington standout Rachael Turrentine saw plenty of playing time, and finished with two rebounds and an assist.
The large crowd saw the Lady Chargers build a 20-point led at the half. Despite the Lady Chargers committing 27 turnovers, and missing 16 free throws out of 22 attempts, GHC was able to maintain a double-digit lead the entire second half.
“We got a little over cautious there in and second half and made some silly turnovers,” said Harrell. “I think the free throws were the biggest signs of our nerves, because we went 13-for-16 in our first game.
“I think the nerves crept in when they got on the line,” added Harrell. “Hopefully we can chalk that one up to nerves.”
Damon Mitchell led the Chargers with 19 points, and former Armuchee star Matt Catanzano finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
Former Rome standout Jamalcolm Griffin started for Wallace State and finished with eight points and four rebounds.
The men’s game was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, and the Lions led 37-36 at the half. The Chargers used a 10-0 run to take a 54-44 lead with less than 12 minutes to go in the game.
That’s when Wallace State picked up the defense and went to a full-court press.
The Chargers had trouble handling the press, and the Lions went on 13-2 run to tie the game at 60 with 6:00 to go.
Wallace State continued to press, and hit its free throws down the stretch to hand GHC the loss.
“Just to have a chance to beat a team like Wallace state, who went to the Sweet 16 last year, in our second game was pretty exciting for us,” said Gaffney. “But blowing a 10-point lead was obviously disappointing.
“We just did a poor job of handling the press and that’s my fault,” added Gaffney. “We’ll go back and look at it and I’m going to have to do a better job of making sure everybody understands their role on the press. The fact that we went toe-to-toe with a team that was in the Sweet 16 last year was very encouraging.”
The Lady Chargers’ next action will be Tuesday when they host Georgia Northwestern Tech, and the men’s team will return to action when they host Central Georgia Tech on Saturday for their first conference game of the season.