After a week off from competition, the Coosa and Model boys’ basketball teams both struggled in their first games back after playing in the championship game of the Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Christmas Tournament last week.
The Eagles were defeated Friday by Class 4A Central-Carroll 61-46, and the Blue Devils came up short against Douglass 51-47 in Model’s Big Blue Classic — a three-day boys-only tournament that helps get teams going after the holidays and before the bulk of their region schedules.
“Hopefully we can get a lot of that rust off of us,” Coosa coach John McFather said after the Eagles’ loss to the Lions. “We saw what we need to work on. Everybody wants to win every night. You’ve got to stay hungry. That’s hard for some players to understand, but one thing that will help you understand it is when it happens to you on the court. It hits you right in the face.”
Coosa cut Central’s lead to 32-25 at halftime after trailing by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, but according to McFather, the Eagles just couldn’t reach the energy level needed to pull off a win.
“I thought we played really sluggish,” McFather said. “We made a couple of runs, but we didn’t have the energy. The other team played well and they played hard. I knew they would. They’re a scrappy bunch of kids over there. They deserved to win. They out-hustled us, they got the loose ball, they outran us. That’s just a lack of effort.”
Coosa (7-4), which saw a four-game win streak come to an end, was led by Keshaun Kindred with 13 points, Jaquze Morgan had 12 points and Zeph Philyaw had nine.
Canden McClure led Central (8-4) with 23 points, Trey Powell scored 12 points, and Lyle Smith finished with eight points.
Coosa opens play Saturday with a 3 p.m. game against Class 6A Harrison as Classic action continues at Model. Central will face Pepperell in the second game of the day at 4:30 p.m.
Coosa has two more games in the Classic before getting back to its Region 7-AA schedule. The Eagles have two region games the first week of the new year — a road matchup against Dade County and a home game against Rockmart.
“That’s one reason I like to play these post Christmas tournament games — to get some games under your belt and get some of that sluggishness out,” McFather said. “Hopefully we can do that.”
Douglass 51, Model 47
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Model boys’ basketball team cut Douglass’ lead to two points in the fourth quarter but couldn’t pull ahead.
The Blue Devils were stopped by the Astros 51-47 on Friday in the opening game of the Big Blue Classic in Shannon.
The Blue Devils trailed the Astros 30-22 at halftime, but just about every time Douglass went on a run, Model responded.
“I was encouraged by our second half performance,” Model coach Jacob Travis said. “We handled the ball better down the stretch. We got better shots and attacked better, and all of the sudden our defense is a lot easier to play when you’re shooting good shots and attacking.”
A 17-2 run by the Blue Devils that spanned the end of the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter cut the Astros’ lead to 49-47. The run also included a 3-pointer by Dane Fisher that rattled around the rim before dropping through the net as time expired in the third quarter.
Fisher finished with 12 points for Model (7-5), which were scored all on 3-pointers, Jabari Burge led the Blue Devils with 13 points, and Jared Bomer added eight points.
Douglass (12-4) was led by Jamarious Pledger with 22 points, and Ja’Michael Stillwell with eight points.
“We turned it over about five times in a stretch right there that really hurt us, but our young guys are moving along and playing better, and I think our guys as a whole are getting in better shape,” Travis said. “We just have to keep growing.”
Model rounds out Saturday action in the Classic with a 6 p.m. game against Darlington. The tournament will conclude Monday.