The New Brockton Gamecocks and Lady Gamecocks basketball teams closed out the regular season last week with a tough slate of games before starting of play in area tournaments.
The Gamecocks, after winning their first back-to-back games of the season, lost 55-29 to Houston Academy on the road.
“We couldn’t buy a shot in that game,” New Brockton coach Anthony Carter said of the Houston Academy loss. “We scored 12 points in the first half and at halftime I told my kids that they could take pride in their selves and try to fight or continue to embarrass themselves.”
The Gamecocks were never able to fight their way back into the game but bounced back in a thrilling loss to G.W. Long on the road 56-53.
“Even though we lost, I felt like the kids played a complete game,” Carter proudly said. “They played hard from the opening tipoff until the last whistle. We came up short but I was very proud of the way everyone played.”
The Gamecocks altered their lineup heading into the game in an attempt to have a shooter come off the bench.
“Billy McKenna really shot the ball really, really well in the second half,” Carter said. “The kids played with a lot of intensity and I think that made the biggest difference.”
McKenna scored 28 points along with bringing down four rebounds and three steals in the loss.
“Considering how the Houston Academy game went, to play the way we did after that really made me proud,” Carter said.
The Gamecocks followed up that performance with a 71-39 loss to Slocomb at home. Jy’shan Nelson led New Brockton with 14 points and three rebounds against Slocomb.
Despite their struggles this season, Carter hopes a couple of strong performances late in the season from his Gamecocks can propel his team in the area tournament.
“You can’t go by anyone’s record this time of year,” Carter said. “You can have a losing record the entire year and then right at the end of the season you start playing well and win the games that matter.”
Carter said that he has always preached ignoring records and just continuing to try and improve late in the season.
“Ever since I started coaching I ask my kids how many games it takes to win a state championship in basketball,” Carter said. “It takes six wins when tournament’s start. So, in six games you can be a state champion. Most coaches want that 20-win season but if you get beat in the first game in the area tournament the season is over and those 20 wins mean nothing.
“The main thing is the kids have to have the confidence they need to be successful. The record doesn’t mean anything this time of year.”
The Gamecocks certainly had confidence in the opening round of the Classic 2A, Area 3 Tournament as they defeated the Zion Chapel Rebels by a score of 51-19.
The Gamecocks will now face off with Elba in the Area Championship on Thursday at 7 p.m. Regardless of the outcome of that game New Brockton will also advance to the sub-regional round of the State Tournament.
The Lady Gamecocks, however, fell 25-24 in a heartbreaker to the Lady Rebels ending their season.