Jacksonville head coach Anthony Kingston knows that this is crunch time for his Golden Eagle team. Jacksonville lost a heartbreaker to Cherokee County on Friday night 61-59. That loss, coupled with an earlier loss to Hokes Bluff puts Jacksonville in a must win situation if they have any hopes of pulling out the area championship.
The Eagles had a chance to beat Centre at home but let the game get away from them in the last seconds.
Jacksonville let the Warriors jump out to an early 12-2 lead in the first quarter at home on Friday night. Six quick points by Jacksonville’s Jackson Bell pulled the Eagles to within one at 13-12. Bell scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half of the game.
Bell and Des Curry continued to shoot well in the second quarter with Curry pulling up to make two nice shots before the end of the half to pull within four of the Warriors at 30-26.
In the third quarter Curry, who was game high scorer with 33 points, sank two foul shots to bring the Eagles to within two points at 30-28. Curry finished the game shooting 10-of-12 from the foul line.
The Eagles Lavontae LaCount shot the ball and then fought hard for his own rebound three times before putting it in to tie up the game at 30-30.
Jacksonville kept up with the Warriors but couldn’t quite take over the lead and was down by three points, 43-40, at the end of the third quarter.
Curry brought the Eagles to within five points shooting over the top of a Centre defender for two points. The next time down the court Curry was fouled and hit both to bring the Eagles to within one.
Both teams continued to exchange baskets with the Warriors maintaining a one-point lead until Curry hit from beyond the arc to tie up the game at 56-56 with 1:34 remaining in the game.
With 39 seconds remaining Centre sank a three but undaunted Curry got the ball and in a desperation, off balance shot hit his own three to once again tie up the game.
Centre had the ball with 19 seconds remaining and the Eagles played good defense until a player broke loose and drove the baseline putting the ball up and in for a two point Cherokee County lead.
With 1.8 seconds remaining Kingston called time-out and drew up a desperation plan. The Eagles tried desperately to execute but fell short taking the two-point loss.
In addition to Bell and Curry, LaCount added seven points, Andrew Clingan three and Sid Thurmond two points.
Earlier in the week the Eagles beat Clay Central 70-57. Thurmond led the Eagles with 23 points hitting on five of six from beyond the arc, Curry contributed 18, LaCount 13, Bell eight, Clingan seven and Dominique Thomas one.
Over the Christmas holidays the Eagles flew south, playing in a holiday tournament at Destin, Florida.
The Eagles easily won their first game over North Bay 64-27, but lost to Walton 53-47 and Crestview 63-49.