“Pepperell is a good team. We knew that going in and that’s why we scheduled them,” Adairsville head coach Kent Howard said. “I’m not very pleased with the first three quarters. I’m super pleased with the fourth, but it’s a four-quarter game and it’s frustrating to play poorly for three quarters and play an incredible fourth.”
The game featured a fast pace with each team pressing the other throughout. The fast pace is something Howard likes, but did not like his team’s 26 turnovers.
“We’re frustrated because we had too many turnovers and too many missed shots around the basket,” Howard said. “We want to play fast, and we like when teams press us and we want to press them back. We like to speed them up, but we had plenty of opportunities. A lot of our turnovers were just carelessness. So there was frustration at that end because we were able to get over the top of their press a few times and get good opportunities to score and couldn’t capitalize.”
The Tigers widdled down the Dragons’ lead to five early in the fourth quarter. Senior point guard Tyler Washington had 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help draw his team back. However, Pepperell’s guard play was too much to overcome in the end and foul trouble sent the Dragons to the line often in the final period.
“We’ve had to strategize as a coaching staff, both of our games that we played in, due to foul trouble. We have to do a better job of staying in front of people and making clean plays and getting our hands off of people so that’s what we’re going to focus on this week — finishing around the basket and not fouling people so much and giving them free points at the free throw line,” Howard said. “A lot of it is just early season fatigue. Early in the season, a lot of teams are fouling more than they will at the end of the year. They get tired and they get a little undisciplined at times.”
One of the players who was in foul trouble was center Sammie Frazier. This is the second consecutive game Frazier has struggled with foul trouble, but still managed to score 19 points and grab 11 rebounds.
The fact that Adairsville stayed in the game after falling into its third-quarter deficit is encouraging for Howard, whose team faces Armuchee Saturday at home.
“We had a lot of empty possessions and that’s what make the first three quarters so frustrating, but in the fourth, our kids came back showed a lot of character to make a run and be down five. It says a lot about our kids and their belief in each other,” Howard said. “I’m am proud of them for that, but again, with six seniors on our team, we need to play with a sense of urgency every game and just didn’t for three quarters.”
Howard would also like to see his team cut back on the turnovers.
“We had 26. That’s a dagger no matter how you slice it, even against a good team that’s well coached with good guard play,” he said. “It’s going to get you beat nine times out of 10.”
Excel drops first three
The Excel boys basketball team has gotten off to a rough start this season and have lost its first three games against Lanier, Fellowship Christian and Darlington.
The first game was the Eagles’ best chance to win as they dropped the game to Lanier by a score of 56-53.
The team only returns two points per game this year and is relying heavily on Corey Tucker and Dareus Thrower, who had 30 points Tuesday.
According to head coach David Boyd, Tucker also has played very well, but the team has collectively underperformed.
“We played really poorly against Fellowship,” Boyd said. “We just missed layup after layup after layup.”
Boyd’s young team should only get better as the season progresses and will have an opportunity to pick up its first win today in the Southeast Whitfield Thanksgiving Tournament against Bremen at 11:30 a.m.
Woodland advances in Southeast Thanksgiving Tournament
The Woodland basketball team will be a fast-paced team this year and the scores may often reach the 70s.
The strategy produced a lopsided victory for the Wildcats Wednesday as they defeated North Murray by a score of 74-49 to advance to the championship of the Southeast Thanksgiving Tournament today at 8:30 p.m. against East Paulding.
“A lot of our points came in transition tonight,” Woodland head coach John Howard said after defeating North Murray. “I bet we forced 30 turnovers, and we just pitched the ball ahead so most of the points were layups in transition.”
Woodland is now 1-1 on the season after falling to defending region champions New Manchester 78-68 last week.
“We played them extremely hard,” Howard said of New Manchester. “They got a ten point lead in the first quarter and I think the rest of the game was even. We let them get out to an early lead on us. I thought they had a bunch of guys graduate, but after watching them, they have a bunch of guys who filled their shoes and I’m sure they’ll challenge for a region championship again.”
The Wildcats bounced back against North Murray, however, as a second-quarter adjustment slowed down the Mountaineers offense.
“At the end of the first quarter, we had a little bit of a lead. It was 21-15 at the end of the first. And we felt like we were giving up too many points in the man to man and switched to a zone,” Howard said of the North Murray game. “I don’t think they scored a point midway through the second quarter. We got a lead right then and held onto it until the end. [North Murray] had a little trouble figuring out the zone.
“We’re going to use it throughout the year with teams that we feel like are getting too many points in the paint.”
Carrod Watson has led the Wildcats with a double-double in each game.