With A-5 North competition wrapping up last week, Academics Plus played two non-conference opponents and will use the rest of this week to prepare for next week’s district tournament.
The district tournament begins Monday at Nemo Vista. The Falcons (11-18, 6-11) are the seventh seed and face the host team at 7:30 p.m. Coach John Harrison’s greatest wish is that the Falcons are healthy for next week’s district competition. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools.
"They beat us twice, and we beat them pretty handily at our place," Harrison said. "We know what they do and they know what we do. All year long, we couldn’t get healthy. It we can get healthy, we have a shot at regionals."
Harrison is hoping for the return of junior Paul Sheesley, who hasn’t played since November because of a broken foot. Sheesley is the presence the Falcons are missing on the inside.
"He is very, very strong and has a high-level basketball IQ," Harrison said. "When he steps on the court, he is good for 20 points and 10 rebounds. I’m hoping to get him back because he is our missing link."
Academics Plus finished league play last week against Mount Vernon-Enola. The home contest scheduled for Tuesday was played on Thursday because of the threat of severe weather. A poor performance led to a 61-45 loss. Senior Chris Fields notched a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Zack Nails added 10 points.
"We didn’t play well and turned the ball over," Harrison said. "They ran a 2-2-1 press, and we couldn’t handle it. I think we turned the ball over seven straight possessions. We made lazy passes and bad decisions."
Last Friday, the Falcons had a non-conference game with Pangburn and pulled out a 54-45 victory. Academics Plus put on a three-point shooting show in the first quarter, followed by a sloppy third quarter and then pulled the win out at the free throw line. In the first quarter, the Falcons were six-of-nine from three-point range, led 18-6 and increased that margin to 30-17 at the half.
"We played really good defense, and the kids played with a lot of confidence," Harrison said. "The second half was the opposite. We couldn’t block out and kept throwing the ball in the stands. We made some key free throws down the stretch and were 8-of-10. It was a great win for us because it was a pretty hostile environment. They have a new place they call they palace. They don’t call it a gym."
Junior Raylond Lynch led the Falcons with 13 points and junior Chabala Musonda contributed 12 including three treys in the first quarter. Junior Kevin Randall also reached double digits with 10.
The Falcons ended the regular season last night in a non-conference matchup at Des Arc.