The New Brockton Gamecocks and Lady Gamecocks traveled to Straughn to battle the Tigers on the road with the boys, girls and JV teams all falling to the Tigers.
The boys varsity hung tough against the 5A Straughn Tigers but ultimately fell 55-48 despite another ferocious second half comeback.
Straughn jumped out to a 10-0 early lead but the Gamecocks settled in and fought their way back into the game.
“We played very, very hard and I was really pleased with our effort,” New Brockton coach Anthony Carter said after the game. “They really showed up to play. We spotted them 10 points but then really settled down after that.
“I was pleased with the effort we gave and the way we kept fighting.”
New Brockton outscored Straughn in the third quarter and cut the lead down to four at one point, but mental errors and missed free throws from the Gamecocks late in the game allowed Straughn to secure the win.
“We gave up too many second chance shots and had way too many crucial, unforced turnovers,” Carter said. “We were trying to push the ball when some of the kids weren’t ready and it caused some turnovers and we had some really clutch free throws at the end that we missed.”
Still, Carter said that he will never fault his team as long as they continue to fight like they have so far this season. According to Carter, he challenged his team preceding the Straughn came to continue to play hard.
“I told them it doesn’t matter what happens, if you play hard you will be successful,” he said. “The scoreboard didn’t show that tonight but as a coaching staff we were very pleased with their effort. We faced adversity and were in a really hostile environment, but the effort was definitely there. That’s all you can ask for.”
The Gamecocks were lead by senior Jy’shan Nelson’s 15 points, while Isaiah Donaldson added nine points. Caleb Hurley contributed eight points before leaving the game due to a collision that caused big gash over his right eye that required stitches.
“He played really well for us before he suffered that big gash,” Carter said of Hurley. “He was at the hospital and kept asking what the score was while he was getting stitches, and kept saying that maybe he could get back into the game if they got him stitched up quick enough. That’s the kind of effort you want out of your team.”
Carter said that the team will watch Hurley and make sure he doesn’t have any type of head injury but expects him to be okay.
Carter is holding up turnovers and rebounding as a point of emphasis moving forward.
“We have to do a better job of boxing out, we just give up way too many second-chance shots,” he said. “We truly have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, too. We’re really focusing on those things right now.
“If we can limit second chance shots and stop turning the ball over I think we’ll be alright. We just have to keep rolling.”
The Lady Gamecocks struggled again Monday as the Lady Tigers won in dominant fashion by a score of 55-8.
Straughn led 13-2 at the end of the first quarter and began to pull its starters before halftime, which Carter appreciated.
“Straughn is a very, very tough team,” he said. “Coach (Scott) Kinsaul is a very classy guy. He played his starters in the first quarter and immediately starting pulling them in the second.
“When you play a team that is totally dominant like that and starts pulling his starters it shows a lot of class and I really appreciate that.”
The nervous Lady Gamecocks were never able to get on track and the Lady Tigers scored in double digits in every single quarter of the game. Carter is emphasizing that his young team simply has to keep fighting through the adversity of this early season.
“Don’t give up,” Carter said of his message to his team. “We turned the ball over so much with unforced turnovers that it’s hard to win against anybody like that. We have to keep working and trying everyday to get better.”
The Lady Gamecocks feature two seventh graders, five eighth graders, two freshmen, and two sophomores with no juniors or seniors. While Carter acknowledges the youth and inexperience, he won’t allow his team to use it as a crutch.
“I’m not going to let how young we are be used as an excuse,” he said. “They practice every single day and at some point you can’t keep using that excuse. You have to take care of the basketball and play with more confidence.
“They’re still playing really nervous but we have to suck it up, deal with it and just keep fighting and gain some confidence.”
The boys JV team also fell to Straughn 35-20 after falling apart for the second week in a row in the second half.
Both teams fought to back-and-forth throughout the second half, with the Gamecocks nailing a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter to draw the score to a 9-9 deadlock.
In the second quarter, neither team was able to gain the upper hand but a late score allowed the Tigers to take a 13-11 lead into halftime.
Straughn outscored New Brockton 11-5 in the third quarter and 11-4 in the fourth to take control of the game and the Tigers never looked back.