The Eagles squared off against perennial basketball powerhouse Southwest Atlanta Christian Tuesday on the road.
Each team took double-digit losses but provided highlights in the second half.
Excel boys 61, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy 74
In any sport, young teams have a tendency to struggle in unfamiliar environments.
Such was the case for the Excel boys team as head coach Chad Parker believes the change of scenery affected his team and allowed Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to get off to a fast start and defeat Excel by a score of 74-61.
“We were playing out of our norm in a tough setting, and it was at their place and we didn’t start out very well,” Parker said. “We just didn’t come out with a whole lot of intensity on defense and we came out cold on offense.
“No matter the scenery, you have to get in there and play hard.”
Excel trailed 24-12 after the first quarter and 44-22 at the end of the first half.
However, the Eagles did make a comeback and got within eight points in the final minute of the game after falling behind by 32 at one point.
After an even third quarter, Excel outscored Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy 24-15 in the fourth quarter.
“We clamped down in the second half and started playing a little better. We showed a lot of heart,” Parker said. “We kept fighting, but we got off to such a bad start.
“[Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy has] some really quality players. They’re a pretty good team and their fullcourt press gave us some problems.”
Excel is now 5-9 and 1-2 in Region 6A-A. The team’s next game will come Friday at home against Trion, where the Eagles have won two of their last three games.
Excel girls 23, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy 68
Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy started out strong Tuesday night and overpowered Excel, 68-23, in girls high school basketball.
Southwest, which is currently ranked third in Class A by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had a 40-5 lead at the break, but Excel stepped up its offensive output in the second half and scored 18 points to 28 by its foes.
Bekah Bell scored 9 points to lead the Lady Eagles offensively while Miriam Hibbard dropped in 6 points for the Eric Harris-coached team.
Excel returns to the hardwood Friday when it entertains Trion at 6 p.m. The boys teams play at 7:30 p.m.
—The Daily Tribune News staffers David Royal and Jason Greenberg contributed to this report.