The Excel Christian Academy Eagles separated in the second, weathered a comeback attempt in the third and pulled away in the fourth quarter to rout Providence Christian 59-39 Tuesday in their first home game of the season.
“It was just nice to play at home,” Excel coach Shannon Boatfield said. “It was nice to have some energy in the building. Our fans, I thought, were great. We didn’t play particularly well and still won by 20, that’s always a good night.”
Robby Poston scored 17 points and hit one of two buzzer-beaters the Eagles managed in the game.
Poston’s last-second shot made it 27-16 at halftime, while Jake Murray’s putback just beat the third quarter buzzer to make it 40-29 with one quarter to go.
Excel would have won comfortably even without those shots after blitzing Providence with a 19-point second quarter to take that double-digit lead at halftime.
The score was tied at 8-8 after the first quarter as both teams struggled.
“I think it was those first home game jitters,” Boatfield said. “They were so jacked up that everything’s got a little too much on it, and I just think that’s what it was. We just had too much on our minds to really focus in.”
Poston then scored seven points in the second quarter despite making just 1-of-6 free throw attempts in the quarter, working inside for layups and turnaround jumpers.
He finished the game just 3-of-11 from the line.
“He’s a guy that we’re going to lean on for points, for sure,” Boatfield said. “And tonight, we were smart enough to recognize that we had some mismatches down low and kept attacking those mismatches.”
Providence then tried to come back in the third quarter as Ryan Rose made a 3 and big man Noah Williamson, who led all scorers with 20, put in six points in the quarter, but Excel matched them with a balanced attack.
Poston, Josiah Mosley, Murray, Brendan Quillin and Evan Lee all scored for the Eagles in the quarter, and Excel went to the fourth still up 11.
Boatfield’s team then closed off the game as Providence tried to foul, with Mosley and Quillin scoring five points each in the quarter.
Quillin was the second-leading scorer for the Eagles with 12. Mosley had 11 and six steals, Lee had eight and seven rebounds and Kalil Holley added six and nine rebounds.
Excel will host Pickens on Friday.