Although the Academics Plus boys’ basketball team didn’t have success last week, the two losses are forgotten as the Falcons are keyed up for Friday.
At the last minute, the Falcons (5-2) are replacing Conway Christian in a 2:30 p.m. matchup Friday against Pangburn at Memphis’ FedExForum, home of the Grizzlies. Later, they will attend the Grizzlies’ shoot around and game against San Antonio.
After Atkins had to cancel Friday’s contest with Academics Plus because of competing in the football playoffs, Falcons’ Coach John Harrison scrambled to find a replacement. The girls’ coach at Conway Christian is a friend of his so he called there. While Conway Christian couldn’t play the Falcons, Harrison was told his team could replace Conway Christian at the forum because the Eagles are also in the football playoffs. The Conway Christian girls play the Pangburn girls at 12:30 p.m. To get into the game, fans purchase a Grizzly ticket which allows them into the 7 p.m. NBA game.
"We are so excited," Harrison said. "It’s awesome and the parents are excited. We are taking our junior girls’ and boys’ teams and the senior girls’ team, too. It should be a good time."
Prior to Friday’s contest, the Falcons played Lisa Academy North last night. While the Falcons were expected to win, Harrison was hoping the excitement about Friday’s game didn’t hamper their performance.
A conference win was welcomed last night as Academics Plus went on the road last week and lost two games. Last Tuesday, Guy-Perkins defeated the Falcons, 99-88, while KIPP Delta won, 80-50, last Friday.
Against Guy-Perkins, senior forward Paul Sheesley led five players in double figures with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Senior forward Chabala Musonda added 18 points and 13 rebounds, sophomore guard Will Westenburger contributed 15 points, senior guard Raylon Lynch chipped in 14 points and sophomore guard Jawon Wright finished with 12 points.
"We scored enough points to win and gave a great effort," Harrison said. "But, when you give up 99 points that means you didn’t play defense. We probably had our best offensive night, and they couldn’t stop Paul."
Guy-Perkins shot 13-of-37 treys and finished the first half by hitting three in a row that erased the Falcons’ eight-point lead.
Against KIPP Delta, the Falcons trailed 40-32 at the half and Sheesley had 12 points. However, he sprained his ankle and sat out the second half. Without his physical presence, they had trouble stopping KIPP Delta’s size with six players 6-foot-3 or above.