ACKERMAN – It was win or go home Tuesday night inside the Ackerman High School gym.
The No. 3 Eupora boys' basketball team did just that with a 82-52 win over No. 6 Ackerman in the Class 2A, Region 5, District 4 tournament.
The Eagles set the tone early, starting the game on a 17-0 run to establish the tempo of the game.
"We have been trying to set the tone the last two weeks of the season," said Eupora head coach Bryant Thomas. "It has kind of been the story all season, especially the last three weeks, we have been jumping out. I told them we needed to start strong and finish strong for once. They took a stand and went out there and played hard."
The game looked to be noncompetitive after the first quarter as the Eagles held a 21-6 lead, but the Indians answered back.
They went on 13-4 run to pull within 11 at 30-19. The Eagles went on their own 5-0 run to push the lead back out at 35-19.
Ackerman finished the half hot with an 11-3 run to cut the lead down to single digits at 38-30.
"The pick and roll was working," said Ackerman head coach Shaston Coleman. "We were going to try and get them in foul trouble. We were trying to get it in the paint."
That was as close as the Indians got, as the Eagles came out in the second half on a mission.
"We had some guys in foul trouble and we had some younger guys in the game," Bryant said. "I told them at halftime that you younger guys get in the game you have to hold the ropes. Eventually we got back in it and turned it up again."
The Eagles limited the Indians to only 13 points in the third quarter as they scored 24 themselves to take a 62-43 lead into the final frame.
"I think it just got away from us," Coleman said. "l think my guys got flat. We didn't get shots. We missed shots and layups. I just think we kind of ran out gas there at the end. As the lead increased, I think they got a little discouraged. It has been that way up and down all year. (We) made a run at them just fell short."
The Indians were led by Matthew Davis with 18 points. Lenny Taylor chipped in 11. Ackerman concluded the season with a 6-13 record.
Derrick Jones led all scorers and Eupora with 27 points. Trey Pittman added 13, Devin Simmons chipped in 12 and Randall Cunningham got in double digits with 11 points.
The Eagles improved to 7-14 for the year and will play again Thursday at 5:30 p.m. against the No. 2 seed Greenville St. Joseph.
No. 4 East Webster 64,
No. 5 Ackerman 39
ACKERMAN – For the second time this season, the Lady Wolverines stormed into Ackerman and beat the Lady Indians on their own home court.
This time it was for the right to continue a season.
The Lady Indians kept it interesting in the first quarter. They jumped out to 5-4 lead before East Webster went on an 8-0 run to push its lead out to 12-5. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter and the Lady Wolverines took a 19-16 lead.
Ackerman scored the first three points of the second quarter and made it all even at 19 each. The Lady Wolverines went on a 15-0 run to end the half and took a 34-19 lead into the locker room.
"We always come out a little shaky on defense," East Webster coach Mandy Jewell said. "I think we settled in and started playing our game. We changed defenses a few trips down the floor and had a few steals on them. I think that helped us get a little more relaxed and we were able to go back to our 2-3 zone and stopped them with that."
The Lady Indians did not have much of an answer in the second half as the Lady Wolverines stretched their lead to 47-29 before entering the final frame.
"We tied it up 19 all and then we missed three or four easy shots and we gave them to many rebounds on the inside," Ackerman head coach Gary Beals said. "They have two good post players on the inside. Difference in the game was rebounding and us not making a couple of plays. They got a good ball club. They played inside-out tonight very well. They hit some key shots and made some shots inside."
East Webster turned on the defense as it has all year.
"We didn't really change anything," Jewell said. "We stayed back in a 2-3 zone. I got to play my second group a lot (Tuesday) and I think that helps keep fresh legs on that first group. That makes a difference at the end of the game when they have rested throughout the whole game to play defense because they have fresh legs."
The Lady Indians were led by Bridgette Robinson with 15 points. Iasia Lee added 14 points. Ackerman ended the season with an 8-10 record.
Quantesha Patterson led the Lady Wolverines and all players with 26 points. Katesa Dear added 14 points.
East Webster improved to 15-11 for the season. They will play No. 1 William Sullivan on Thursday at 7 p.m.
No. 3 Greenville St. Joseph 49,
No. 6 Eupora 19
ACKERMAN – The Lady Eagles struggled to find themselves offensively.
The Lady Bruins held a 28-15 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Lady Eagles cut the lead down to 12 at 30-18, but St. Joseph went on a 14-0 to stretch its lead back out at 44-18.
The first points for the Lady Bruins came with 4:47 remaining in the second quarter when they made a pair of free throws.
"That has given us the most trouble all year," Eupora head coach Curtis Ford said of the offense. "We haven't been able to shoot, pass, dribble and rebound. That is where the ballgame is."
The Lady Bruins scored the first 12 points of the game and lead 8-0 after the first quarter.
The Lady Eagles scored three points in the second quarter and entered halftime trailing 16-3.
The Lady Eagles had a better showing offensively in the second half. Eupora scored its first field goal, a 3-pointer, with 5:55 remaining in the third period to cut the lead down to 18-6. It followed up the trey with another basket for their first back-to-back baskets of the game.
"I told them at halftime that basketball is not about Xs and Os so much as it about fundamentals," Ford said. "That was how we were getting beat with the turnovers and forcing our bad shots and being over anxious. That is where it has been most of the year."
St. Joe was lead by Corbin Divinity with 18 points. They will play the No. 2 seed Pisgah Thursday at 4 p.m.
Jaliyah Patterson lead the Lady Eagles with 10 points. They finished the year with a 6-13 record.
No. 4 East Webster 52,
No. 5 Pisgah 27
ACKERMAN – The Wolverines used good defense and a couple of lengthy runs offensively to send the Dragons packing for the year.
East Webster opened up the game on a 6-0 run and never gave that lead away. They entered the second quarter ahead 15-4.
The Dragons kept it interesting in the second quarter cutting the lead 21-17 before the Wolverines went on a 10-0 run to push their lead out to double digits at 27-17 at the intermission.
"We lapsed in the second quarter defensively," East Webster head coach Corey Stidham said. "We got it out in transition and got some rebounds and some stops. We made a little run to get a little lead right there before half."
The defense picked up for the Wolverines in the second half. The Dragons managed to score only two points in the third quarter and East Webster stretched its lead out to 38-19 entering the final frame.
"We challenged them at half," Stidham said. "You gave up four points in the first quarter and you lapsed in the second quarter. We can't do that. We had a foot on their throat and you got to finish it off. And they stepped up third quarter and I think they gave up two points. The way we have to win is defend and rebound."
Charles Guyton led East Webster with 17 points. Darius Dear chipped in 10 points.
The Wolverines improved their record to 10-15 for the season. They will play Thursday night against No. 1 William Sullivan at 8:30 p.m.