First Presbyterian Christian Academy routed Curtis Baptist, 69-47, for the Highlanders first region win of the year Friday night.
The victory took place a night after FPCA knocked off rival Memorial.
“We are really coming together now. The guards are playing good and taking care of the ball, and we are also really developing an inside game,” FPCA coach Ernie Walthour, Sr. said.
On Friday night, Herbert Roberts drained a pair of 3s to start the game and the Highlanders were able to convert on every offensive possession during the first five minutes of the first quarter.
Curtis responded with solid ball movement and good defense but FPCA held an 18—15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
FPCA used an aggressive man to create turnovers and with the help of a pair of technical fouls on the Crusaders busted the game wide open. The Highlanders only allowed Curtis four points in the second quarter and FPCA lead 34-19 going into the locker room at the half.
“We are doing a better job taking care of the basketball and by doing that it allows us to create more offensive possessions,” Walthour said.
Curtis went on a 6-point run early in the third quarter but FPCA responded going to a wide zone defense to cover the Crusaders shooters.
After slowing down the pace and using a more patient offense, the Highlanders forced four turnovers and reeled off a 10 point scoring run.
“Midway the third quarter we decided that we were not going to let Curtis back in the game. We slowed down the pace and moved the basketball but then we are able to create some turnovers and score in transition,” Walthour said.
The Highlanders added a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter taking a commanding 55-32 lead.
FPCA had three players in double figures. Roberts finished with a game high 20 points. Dominique Kirkley put in 18 points. Josiah Alleyne contributed 12 points.
FPCA had some growing pains early in the season, but since a Christmas tournament the Highlanders are playing stronger team basketball according to Walthour.
“You either are winning or you ain’t, and fortunately we playing better every game right now. The boys are playing good and the coaching staff is doing a great job,” Walthour said.
The win against Curtis puts FPCA 1-0 in region play and 7-8 overall.
On Thursday night the Highlanders blasted Memorial Day, 73-58.
“This is one of the first complete games that we have played this year. We have had some tough losses this year including one to Memorial early. We started playing better in the Christmas tournament but we are really starting to come together and play better basketball,” Walthour said.
The Highlanders pulled down 42 boards. Damian Osborne snagged 14 rebounds and Muhammad had 12.
“Chris Guilfo and Dominique Kirkley are giving us great leadership as guards on the floor and are doing a good job controlling the ball,” Walthour said.
FPCA only had eight turnovers Thursday night. When they faced Memorial earlier in the season they had 20.
As the Landers were able to go to their bench, Memorial used its speed to make a couple of runs at the lead but FPCA still held a double digit lead until the end of the game.
Roberts led the Lander scoring attack with a game high 27 points. Kirkley added 15 points. Ahmad Muhammad, Allenye and Guilfo finished with eight points each.
In girls’ action, the Lady Highlanders dropped back-to-back contests. On Friday night, a single point separated the FPCA Lady Highlanders and Curtis Baptist at the half and at the end of the game. The Lady Landers lost a heartbreaker 52-51 in the final seconds of the game.
“We played hard tonight we just came up short at the end,” Lady Landers Head Coach Rosby Frasier said.
The game was nip and tuck for four quarters. FPCA trailed 25-24 at the half but used a strong transition game in the third quarter to tie the game up 38-38 going into the fourth quarter.
Aaliyah Wilson had 12 points off of transition lay ups in the third quarter.
“We did a lot better job tonight on the boards and playing more aggressive defense tonight. Summer Malhalko pulled down eight boards for us and it was also good to have Brooke Standard back tonight,” Fraiser said.
FPCA trailed Curtis trailed 47-43 with a little over a minute left in the fourth quarter. Wilson scored seven points in the final minute cutting the Curtis lead to 50-49 in the last 10 seconds.
Curtis fouled Wilson and she knocked down both free throws to give FPCA 51-50 lead. On the final possession of the game Curtis got off a couple of shots and FPCA grabbed the rebound but a turnover allowed Curtis a final shot for the win as the buzzer was sounding.
“We had some problems tonight with ball handling and staying out of traps so that is an area we needed to work on,” Frasier said.
Wilson led all scorers with a game high 38 points including 7-of-11 from the free throw line. T’era Alston chipped in seven points.
Thursday, FPCA fell to Memorial Day Thursday night, 64-35.
“Tonight we didn’t play as well as we should but we were missing Brooke Standard due to illness. She is a strong rebounder for us and plays very aggressive defense. So we definitely missed her on the boards, and we had to move some players in defensive positions they do not always play in,” Lady Highlanders coach Rosby Frasier said.
Memorial created a strong transition game, and took advantage of erratic defense and missed Lady Landers layups to take a 21-14 lead at the end of the first half.
The second half was all Memorial as the Lady Chargers outscored FPCA by 18 points.
“This is our second loss to Memorial this year after we beat Faith Baptist Tuesday. We start region this weekend so hopefully this game was a tune up for the region and we have our cold shooting game behind us,” Fraiser said.
Wilson led the Lady Landers with 18 points. T’era Alston finished with 17 points.
“T’era had to play out of position tonight but she played hard and hustled and my other senior Aaliyah Wilson keeps on playing hard every game. They are providing a lot of leadership to the younger player,”Frasier said.
The Lady Landers fall to 3-2. FPCA hosts region opponents Curtis Baptist and Edmund Burke.
“We will put this game behind us and get ready for two region teams this weekend,” Fraiser said.
FPCA falls to 3-3 and 0-1 in the region. The Lady Landers played host to region opponent Edmund Burke Academy Saturday afternoon.