Sunday, February 24, 2013
The Fox Creek High School boys basketball team continues to pile up the wins.
The Predators (20-6) haven't lost since a Dec. 28 matchup with Grovetown, Ga, a streak that is up to 15 wins in a row. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Fox Creek has defended its home courts.
Against McBee the Predators needed a comeback to make up for a slow start. Fox Creek opened the game missing its first six shots, allowing the Panthers to build a 10-0 lead in the first minute and a half.
After cutting the lead to three in the second, McBee then opened its lead back up to double digits, going into the half up 30-20. With 25 points in the third, Fox Creek was able to get a lead heading into the fourth quarter in front of its home crowd at Riverview Park Activities Center.
"Oh my goodness, I'm tired of doing the same thing," Fox Creek head coach Andre Baskett said following the game. "I guess that's how we play, we started slow and in the second half we go crazy. It's been the same thing all season, we're still working to get those four quarters."
Leading with 24.2 seconds remaining, the Predators got a lucky break after McBee missed an open 3-point shot. DJ Curry made two clutch free throws and Fox Creek was able to survive with a 59-56 win.
"I just wanted to take my time, bend my knees and extend," Curry said about what was going through his mind in that moment following the game. "We just had to come back hard, attack the glass real hard, get some rebounds, penetrate get some easy looks."
Curry led the team with 17 points, with Chris Harmon having 13 and Marques Sumner also contributing 10 in the win.
Going into their second round matchup against McCormick at North Augusta Middle School, the Predators were determined not to start slow again. They were able to come roaring out the gates, but so did the Chiefs.
Both teams ended the first quarter tied at 25. Fox Creek took a three point advantage going into the half.
"All I can say is intense, intense, intense," Baskett said. "The game plan going into Friday night was that over the course of the season we came out slow and then in the second we go crazy, so the plan was this time to get off to a good start and then show them our second half to take ourselves to another level."
In the third quarter, the Predators got in some foul trouble, which opened the door for McCormick. The fourth quarter, however, decided the game as Harmon took over. He was the sole scorer for a stretch late in the game that pushed the Predators to a 64-57 lead after being knotted up at 57. Fox Creek ended up winning 65-60.
It was big for the Predators' confidence to stay in control of a game from post to post.
"That was definitely big for our confidence, just trying to play and get those four quarters," Baskett said. "We played three strong quarters and that third quarter (that saw the Predators outscored 10-7 and the game tied heading into the fourth) we came out a little flat. It was real big, this one coming we hope we've got four quarters coming."
Fox Creek's third round playoff game will come at Lewisville in a game that was to have happened on Tuesday evening. The Lions, like the Predators, are also the No. 1 seed from their portion of the bracket. The host brackets, which switch every year, requires the Predators to go on the road, whereas next year this game would have been a home tilt for Fox Creek.
The challenge of going on the road is one that Fox Creek is looking forward to.
"I think they're fired up, we don't know much about Lewisville but I've heard a little something," Baskett said. "They play a similar style to us. ...Everyone matches up differently, we're just going to go in there, play our game and some hard-nosed defense and drop some shots."
A win would pit Fox Creek against the winner of C.A. Johnson and Christ Church for the Upper State title.