As a result, Excel head coach Chad Parker knew his team was going to be in for a rough game.
The game played out as expected Friday night at Trion High with Whitefield jumping out to an early lead and maintaining it to win by a score of 76-44, ending the Eagles’ season with a final record of 9-16.
“We knew we didn’t match up with them athletically. They’re all at least 6-3, plus. They’re all real athletic and we knew we couldn’t let them get the offensive rebounds, so we kind of gave them the outside shot and they lit it up,” Parker said. “I told them how proud I was of them. Even tonight, we never stopped. We never quit. We just kept playing.”
Whitefield connected on five 3-pointers in the first quarter and led by a score of 28-4 after one period.
Excel cut into the lead in the second quarter thanks to a scoring surge and outscored Whitefield, 21-18. The Eagles trailed 46-25 at halftime.
However, Whitefield responded in the third quarter, continuing to extend its lead and move onto the second round.
Still, Parker believes his program has a promising future. As the athletic director acting as the interim coach, Parker’s first duty will be to find the program’s next long-term coach.
“They were obviously disappointed in the finish of the season, but they learned a lot, did a lot of good things and battled through adversity,” Parker said. “I’m just really proud of the character that we displayed through losing our coach midseason, battling through some injuries, a lot of stuff and I just can’t say enough about the kids at Excel.”
Junior center Jack Bowers was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 13. Senior Lane Blackwell played his best offensive game of the season and finished with nine points on three 3s.