Predators suffer tough loss, head to region play
A tough loss to Silver Bluff will lead the Fox Creek boys basketball team into region play.
The Predators (9-4, 2-0 Region 4A) dropped an overtime contest to Silver Bluff 66-62 after battling back to take a lead in the fourth quarter.
“It’s disappointing,” Andrew Peckham, Fox Creek’s head coach, said. “I really thought the effort was there from the guys, but we’ve got to understand when we’re put in games like that, we’ve got to close out. We missed some free throws down the stretch. There are some little things, offensively and defensively that we aren’t doing. That’s going to cost us a game like that. Credit to Silver Bluff, they battled back and hit a huge shot to force overtime.”
The shot, hit by Jaylen Lawrence with five seconds left in the game, capped a six-point comeback in the final 30 seconds for Silver Bluff.
Ikel El, a forward for the Predators, said the loss came because of a lack of execution.
“We had poor execution, we weren’t on our free throws and we turned the ball over,” he said. “In the first half we got kinda slow, then Marques (Sumner) told me to step up and when he got in foul trouble I tried to take over, but we just lost.”
For Peckham’s squad, the loss comes at a point where his team needs to be focused, and he’s hoping the loss will help prepare and motivate his team.
“It’s their decision how they want to take this game,” he said. “They can either put it past them or they can use it to get better individually and collectively as a team. They can learn from the mistakes and it should make us want to work harder and get better. Clearly we’re not at a level we need to be, but fortunately for us, they don’t handout trophies in January. We’ll regroup and get after it in practice.”
Fox Creek has already played two region games, but now goes into a stretch of the season that is region heavy.
“We’re going to have three hard practices before the game on Friday at Ridge Spring-Monetta,” Peckham said. “I’m hoping this loss to Silver Bluff will get us refocused going into the heart of the region play. We’ve got to get better physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to how the guys respond.”
For El, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Silver Bluff, the task he most wants to get better at is defense.
“We can work on the defense, handling the ball better, rebounds and being leaders,” he said. “Whenever Marques or Brandyn (Quiller) aren’t on my job is to score, but I’m supposed to get rebounds.”
Fox Creek’s game with Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, which was scheduled for Tuesday night, has been rescheduled to Jan. 13. The next game for the Predators is scheduled for Friday at Ridge Spring-Monetta.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.