First Posted: 1/15/2009
ST. PAULS - After falling behind in the first half, the St. Pauls boys basketball team knew that it would have to work hard to overcome its deficit and put itself in a position to win.
According to their coach - and the final score - they didn't work hard enough.
St. Pauls, 6-11 and 4-3 in the Southeastern Conference, saw its comeback attempt fall short as it fell 68-52 to conference rival East Bladen, 10-6 and 6-2.
“We just got outworked,” Bulldogs coach Harold Johnson said. “We didn't play quality basketball. We got outworked, out-rebounded, and had 24 turnovers - we just didn't put ourselves in a position to win.”
After the teams played a mostly defensive battle for much of the first quarter, East Bladen's David Franklin got a steal in the period's final seconds and scored a fast-break dunk just before the buzzer to give the Eagles a 10-7 lead after one.
That turned out to be just one of several turnovers for the Bulldogs that would come at especially inopportune times.
The Eagles continued their pressure in the second quarter and capitalized on the Bulldogs' mistakes to build a 14-point lead. St. Pauls' LePatrick Currie closed the gap to 29-17 with a rebound and putback just before the halftime buzzer.
“I certainly have to give credit to East Bladen because they caused some of our turnovers,” Johnson said, “but we caused some of them ourselves.”
The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 18 in the third before putting together a 14-1 run to close out the period and pull within five.
The run was capped off by another buzzer-beater, this time from the Bulldogs' Michael Green who caught a desperation heave and laid it back in just before time expired.
St. Pauls was unable to overcome the Eagles in the fourth, though, as they continued to commit turnovers down the stretch and their shots stopped falling.
“This game comes down to simple things - who outworks who,” Johnson said. “This is high school basketball, we don't have any All-Americans out here. It just comes down to hard work and simple things and we didn't do those tonight.”
St. Pauls' offensive output was spread evenly, as no one reached double figures in scoring. The Bulldogs were led by guards Tony Pone, who had nine points including two 3-pointers, and Michael Green, who also had nine.
With the loss, St. Pauls remains third in the conference, trailing the second-place Eagles by a game and a half.
Lady Bulldogs fall
The St. Pauls girls basketball team fell behind early and, like the boys, saw its comeback effort fall short in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs, 9-8 and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference, fell 64-55 to the Lady Eagles, 12-5 and 7-1.
East Bladen opened the game with a 22-6 run and led by as many as 27 in the second half. Behind the sharp-shooting of senior guard Lashonda Jones - who made five second-half 3-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter - the Lady Bulldogs were only able to get within six in the final minutes.
Jones led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points.