Coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said Mount Pisgah’s performance was a lesson to his Eagles that the game changes once the regular season ends.
“It was a dose of what postseason basketball is all about,” Nickerson said. “We’re lucky enough to have survived it and hopefully we learned from this. We were too lazy with our passes.”
The game looked like a regular season contest at first, as Excel started out with a 9-6 lead after a quarter of play, then expanded it to 22-13 at halftime with a 13-7 run.
In the third quarter Excel pushed out to a 13-point lead — 35-22 — and even added another bucket to its lead in the fourth quarter to go up by 15.
Nickerson said Mount Pisgah turned the tables on the Eagles in the final quarter with its defensive play.
“They started pressing us and we didn’t do a good job of handling it,” he said. “We made a lot of careless passes and they took advantage of the turnovers and made a push.”
Mount Pisgah tied the game with about two minutes left.
Nickerson said the Eagles were able to preserve the win by their performance at the free throw line and defensive rebounding.
“We went 9-of-12 at the free throw [line],” he said. “That was about the only thing we did well. I don’t remember a shot for us in the fourth quarter — they either caused a turnover or we got fouled.”
Excel turned the ball over 26 times on the evening, nine in the first half and three in the third quarter.
Nickerson said the team committed 14 turnovers in the final period.
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