SNELLVILLE - Less than one minute into the first quarter Collins Hill was already rolling.
T.J. Williams opened the game with a 3-pointer and Charles Perkins immediately followed that with basket and the Eagles led 5-0. After a 3-pointer and two quick baskets from 6-foot-9 sophomore Jeremy Olsen, the Eagles led 12-6 over Walton early in the first quarter.
But from there the Raiders chipped away at the Eagles' lead and continued to do so the remainder of the game en route to a 71-60 win over Collins Hill in the first round of the Deep South Classic at South Gwinnett.
"That's not typical for us," Collins Hill head coach Josh Grayson said of the fast start. "We played good for us. It is tough with eight sophomores and one
It also hurt that while the Eagles focused on stopping Walton's Glen Rice Jr. and Marcus Fondon, Kyle Putkonen lit them up for five 3-pointers in the first half and seven for the game.
"He did what he was supposed to do. He hit open shots," Grayson said of Putkonen. "We did a better job in the second half of keeping a man on him."
Even as Collins Hill watched Walton slowly build its lead it made brief runs, taking a lead early in the third quarter on a 10-2 run, highlighted by six points from Olsen.
"We go as he goes," Grayson said of Olsen. "It was a good effort by him. We just have to learn and get better."
Olsen ended the night with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
"That's who we are building around," Grayson said. "It is tough being patient right now. But he is capable of scoring like that against anybody."
Walton immediately answered with two more 3s from Putkonen during a 14-5 run that ended the third quarter and put Collins Hill behind 47-41.
During the fourth quarter the Eagles could not get closer than five points with the Raiders answering nearly every Collins Hill score.
Even through the Eagles' press, Walton gripped the lead and when the Eagles started fouling the Raiders responded making 12 of 16 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
"I am pleased with the progress," Grayson said. "I just would like to see better results."