Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Fox Creek High School boys basketball team knew they were in for a tough matchup with Southside Christian.
The Predators were not expecting the Sabres to go 5-of-6 from the 3-point range in the third quarter.
Fox Creek (21-5) saw its season come to an end in the second round of the Class A playoffs at Riverview Park Activities Center. Southside Christian (19-6) came into the matchup with a distinct advantage in size, taking home a win 57-48. Head coach Andrew Peckham said the Sabres had two 6-foot-6 players, in addition to players measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4. The Predators could not match that kind of size, as the team’s tallest player, Andrew Crytzer, measures in at 6-foot-4.
“They were a really good team,” Peckham said. “That region up in Greenville is one of the strongest in Class A with them being a three seed. All of the teams in that region are very closely matched; and with their size we knew would give us issues. A couple of those tall kids could really shoot the three, too. They gave us some issues as far as rebounding was concerned. They were able to get inside and kick it right back out.”
Peckham’s team took a 28-20 lead into the half, but the Sabres caught fire in the third and erased the deficit and made it into a 1-point lead. Peckham said that the barrage put his team on its heels. Also, due to the squad’s lack of depth, the starters were showing signs of being gassed according to their coach. He said that in the second half it looked like his squad was running on fumes.
“The feeling was horrible,” Marques Sumner, who led his team in scoring with 14 points and was an All-State selection for this season, said. “Our goal was to win the state championship. It was a hard fought game and we came up short but everyone gave every thing they had and that’s what I’m proud of my guys for. I wouldn’t trade them for another team.”
In addition to Sumner’s 14 points, Brandyn Quiller and Corrin Cannon both had 10 and Ikel El and Caleb Veihman rounded out the scorers with seven apiece.
The 21 wins are a school record at Fox Creek despite the team bowing out sooner than they had hoped. Peckham will welcome four of his five starters – Sumner, Quiller, Cannon and Veihman – back next year. The only starter the team will lose is El.
Fox Creek will also look to continue its region dominance. After defeating Williston-Elko to conclude its regular season the Predators ran their streak against Region 4-A to 24 in a row. The Predators have not lost a region game since the 2011-12 regular season finale.
“I can’t wait to work with these kids next season and get ready to go,” Peckham said. “I think this experience will make them even hungrier. We went to the third round last year and the second round this year. We got a taste of the playoffs, and we have some guys who have been to the playoffs two years straight. Now I think they understand the work and effort and commitment needed to make that next step next year.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star.