Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
MACON – When it comes down to a state championship game it’s always about who comes out hot in a very intense setting where one possession could mean a win or a devastating loss.
ELCA was in a situation where they’d never been before. In the Chargers’ history, the program was never in the state championship game and the team they were facing in Saint Francis was a proven title contender looking for their third state title in school history.
After fighting to get the lead back in the third quarter, the Chargers’ valiant fight began to waver in the final quarter. ELCA lost the lead with 5:45 remaining and watched the Saint Francis Knights pull a six-point gap.
But when it came down to it, the Chargers continued to scrape and claw for their state title opportunity. But when the chips were down on the table – Saint Francis weathered the storm for the 73-69 victory.
“It was a testament of our will,” ELCA head coach Derrick Mason said. “I thought they came out and executed a bit better than we did early on. We picked up a couple of silly fouls and sat our starting point guard early. We were kind of out of rhythm a little bit and Mekhi Cameron was coming off a shoulder injury too.”
But it was still a good battle for the Chargers in Macon despite an early struggle to get the lead. KJ Jones knocked in one three and followed up with his second in the first quarter to give ELCA a lead. But it lasted all of just 19 seconds. A foul on a layup handed the lead back to Saint Francis and things began to look bleak.
ELCA struggled to get the lead back in the first quarter and didn’t breathe the lead again in the first as the Knights’ high-powered offense kept the Chargers off balance.
Entering the second quarter with a 25-16 deficit, ELCA appeared to be the struggling program and after a minute and a half passed in the second quarter, the Chargers were in a 29-19 hole as the defense continued to struggle and the shots that normally found the mark – missed.
The Chargers found some offense with Trevon Reddish and a bit of luck with Saint Francis missing deep shots, but it was still an uphill climb as Saint Francis maintained a 32-25 lead. With confidence in shots beyond the arc, Saint Francis soon found shots miss while the Chargers focused more on the inside pressure.
With 30 seconds remaining, ELCA trailed 33-30 but down the court once more, Saint Francis knocked in a shot but after a ball handling error by Felix Uadiale paid off. Uadiale caught the loose ball and drew a foul to pull ELCA to a 35-33 deficit at halftime.
The Chargers got the lead back once more in the game during the third quarter but Saint Francis quickly got their lead back. A battle of wills ensued with each possession passing second and ELCA regained the lead for the third time of the game. A costly foul put Saint Francis ahead once more as Jusaun Holt pulled his team ahead 46-45 but the game was still far from over as ELCA held on to a 49-48 lead at the end of the quarter.
“I knew that we were playing a good team,” Mason said. “There was a possibility that we could get down or we could be up. We practice different scenarios all the time. So we were prepared for whatever the game threw at us, we just didn’t execute.”
In the fourth quarter, everything fell apart. Saint Francis overcame their deficit and traded the lead two times and even overcame an early tie for the lead. Once the Knights got the lead with 6:04 remaining in the final quarter, that’d be the final time ELCA would lead in the game as the program fell 73-69.
The loss capped off a season where the Chargers finished runner up in state and posted a 22-9 season record.