WILLIAMSTON – Coming into his sophomore season, Williamston’s Sean Cobb understood that his team’s fortunes would somewhat rest on his shoulders.
The 6-foot-7 forward, who started as a freshman last year, knew he would have to take the next steps in the development process and become a more consistent threat for the Hornets – who are coming off a Class B state semifinals appearance – if there was any hope of the program maintaining its recent success.
Cobb feels he’s starting to come into his own three weeks into the season, and he showed what type of force he could be Wednesday afternoon.
The Williamston sophomore scored 17 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in a 73-58 victory over Dansville in the opening game of the Hornet Holiday Hoopfest.
“You always have to take steps forward. That’s how you improve,” said Cobb, whose team moved to 5-0 after the win. “This year, I got to step out farther instead of holding myself back like I did freshman year.”
Cobb was one half of Wednesday’s marquee matchup, as he asked Hornets interim coach Tom Lewis before the game to defend 6-8 sophomore Caleb Hodgson, an AAU teammate of Cobb’s. Hodgson scored seven of his 14 points in the first eight minutes, helping the Aggies (1-3) take a 15-12 lead into the second quarter. But Cobb was able to help slow the promising big man down for the final three quarters.
“I was proud of the way Sean got aggressive and got engaged in the game,” Lewis said. “Caleb’s got a lot of skills; he can shoot the ball, he’s a good passer. He definitely concerned us, but I was really happy with the way Sean played.”
Momentum turned in Williamston’s favor early in the second quarter when a 3-pointer from Cobb handed his team an 18-17 lead, its first since early in the first quarter. The jumper allowed the Hornets to close the half on a 16-7 run and take a 30-24 lead into halftime.
Williamston was able to extend its lead to 17 late in the third quarter, but Dansville cut its deficit to 13 by the time the quarter came to a close.
The Aggies quickly sliced the Hornets’ lead to seven points, minutes into the final quarter thanks to the 3-point shooting of Benjamin Lober, who scored all 12 of his points from the beyond arc, and Carter Frantz, who scored a team-high 15 points. But Williamston’s Sy Barnett and Cole Kleiver helped close the game down the stretch. Barnett scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter and Kleiver scored six of his 15 points during the same span.
Dansville coach Cole Feldpausch said his squad has yet to put together a full 32 minutes of basketball this season. Consistency has been the issue for the Aggies, and Feldpausch believes it needs to be addressed for his team to reach its full potential.
“We had the same thing last week against (Pewamo-Westphalia) and Laingsburg where we come out sharp in the first quarter, defending,” Feldpausch added. “We have to be able to sustain that effort. It was definitely our pace (early), but we have to react when a team changes it up on us.”
Hodgson added eight rebounds to go with his 14 points.
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.