Jackets lose opening game, rally for wins
The North Augusta boys basketball team received a “wake-up call” on Thursday.
The Jackets (9-3) dropped their opening game in the Lake Marion Invitational against Colleton County 53-44. For Al Young, North Augusta’s head coach, the game was disappointing because of his team’s lack of focus.
“When we come back after a day off, we don’t seem to be as sharp as we normally are,” he said. “We played well in our other two games. We normally don’t have a day off before a game, but the tournament started the day after Christmas, so they were off that day, and we didn’t come back as focused.”
The opening loss served as a motivator for the tournament, as the Jackets went on to win two games, beating Woodland 59-53 and Conway 58-22.
“We ended up winning our last two games, we just started slow with that first loss,” Young said. “The last two we won pretty convincingly, the first game we were up and we let them come back on us.”
Senior guard Christian Davis said the tournament made him realize that he needed to bring more energy early in games.
“I feel like we started slow at the beginning of the tournament and started playing well toward the end, giving more energy,” he said. “It was a good wake-up call that we have to bring it every game. It made me realize that I have to bring energy for the team every game to get everybody going, especially at the beginning of the game.”
The Jackets executed well during the final two games, according to Young.
“Offensively, we moved better, passed well and shot the ball well,” he said. “We don’t always do those things, so it was good to see that. On defense, our help was much better and we were communicating well. I was happy to see that.”
Next up for North Augusta is an away contest with Cross Creek, which is scheduled to be played on Saturday at 5 p.m. After that contest, the Jackets will move into region play, which Young knows will be a tough test for his squad.
“We’ve got to get down to business,” he said. “We can’t have any slip-ups in our region because it’s tough and the teams we play are very good.”
Davis is hoping to help his team become more consistent going into the region portion of the schedule.
“I feel like our team needs to be more consistent, tough and prepared to battle every game in region,” Davis said. “I expect us to come out playing hard at the beginning of region and protect our home court and battle on the road.”
With the tough games coming up, Young is looking to lean on his bench a little bit more, although he wants them to step up and play better for him.
“I think our whole team has to step up,” he said. “Obviously, our starting five need to be good for us to win, but we need our bench to step up and help us. They can’t hurt us when they’re out there, we need them to be able to help give our starters a break.”
The Jackets are scheduled to travel to Cross Creek on Saturday and will then host region foe Lexington on Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.