“It was a really, really good win against a very talented team,” Excel head coach David Boyd said. “We’re hoping this will be a catalyst for the rest of the season. We still have a long way to go, but it’s a good start.”
The young Excel team, primarily composed of sophomores, had been 1-4 and was struggling to limit its turnovers.
With a talented King’s Ridge team up next on the schedule, the outlook seemed bleak for the Eagles Tuesday night.
However, Darius Thrower scored 31 points and 6-foot-7 Jack Bowers had 11 rebounds in his season debut to help Excel improve to 2-4.
“It was really, really big. We played very well,” Boyd said of the win. “It was far and away our best game of the season.”
Bowers’ return to the lineup made a big difference for the Eagles.
“He missed the first five games because of a concussion. He only had four points, but he gives us more depth in the post area. Max Roland can come off the bench, which provides a lot more depth,” Boyd said. “He was having to start and that’s tough on him, being a 10th grader.”
Corey Tucker also had a strong game with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The team’s defense and lack of turnovers were two keys for Excel.
“Our defense was really good and we only had seven turnovers. That was huge,” Boyd said. “Last game we had 26.”
Excel will look to continue its winning ways when the Eagles play Pickens at home on Saturday.
Ramblers beat Colonels late
For the first three quarters it appeared as though the Cass High basketball team was going to pick up its first win of the season against LaFayette.
However, the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s home game did not end well for the Colonels as LaFayette won by a score of 50-43 thanks to a 21-point quarter.
The Ramblers shot 6-for-11 from the field and got to the free throw line 12 times in the final period as they outscored the Colonels 21-13 to win the game.
Cass played excellent defense for the first three quarters and allowed just 29 points heading into the fourth.
After scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Cass went through a drought of its own and scored just 12 points combined in the second and third quarters.
Logan Wilkey provided a boost for the Colonels in the first period as he scored on four straight possessions and finished with eight points in the quarter. Jordan Morning hit a 3-pointer just as the clock expired to give Cass an 18-16 lead heading into the second quarter.
LaFayette raised the level of its defense in the third and held Cass scoreless through the first 4:30 of the half.
Thanks to excellent defense and a rebounding advanatage, the Colonels still led by a point heading into the fourth quarter.
However, Cass could not keep pace with the Ramblers once they got hot and allowed a 13-0 run by LaFayette in the first 3:30 of the fourth quarter.
Cass senior Justin Reed tried to keep his team in the game as he scored four consecutive points to break LaFayette’s run. He finished with six points and five rebounds in the final period. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the game.
Eventually LaFayette would hit enough foul shots to extend the lead to 12 with one minute left and send the Colonels to a fifth loss to begin the season.
Morning finished with seven points for Cass.
LaFayette is now 4-1 with its one loss coming to a talented Ringgold team by just eight points.
Cass will play again Friday at home against Northwest Whitfield at 7 p.m.