An early injury to leading scorer Rayshawn Womack put the Excel Christian boys behind the eight ball early in Saturday's road game at Mt. Zion.
While Rashard Doyal did an admirable job stepping up, Excel didn't have quite enough offensive firepower to hang with Mt. Zion in a 79-53 defeat in Region 6-A.
Excel trailed narrowly after the first (14-11) and second quarters (24-19), and Mt. Zion still only led by eight points at 49-41 entering the final period. But a 3-point barrage from J.D. Hindsman, who drilled five shots from deep in the period, helped the home team pull away.
Doyal did his part in keeping Excel (2-14, 2-5) close through the first three stanzas. The junior had seven points in the first quarter, six in the second and 15 in the third. He made one triple in each period, although his fourth-quarter one accounted for his only three points of the stanza and the last of his game-high 31.
Womack had four points in the first quarter before a fall caused an ankle injury and a cut to his chin that required stitches, per head coach Shannon Boatfield.
Excel will head Tuesday to Trion in a rematch of a thrilling 55-54 win for the Eagles on Dec. 10.