Not winning since November, Academics Plus notched a much needed victory last Tuesday. The hope is that energy can carry to this week with two important games coming up.
The Falcons (9-14, 5-7 A 5-North) defeated North Little Rock Lisa Academy, 60-45. Tuesday night, they traveled to Little Rock Lisa Academy and on Friday, they host Wonderview. Two victories this week would help in Academics Plus’ quest of obtaining a four or perhaps three seed into the district tournament.
"We needed a win," Academics Plus Coach John Harrison said. "The guys played really well and had a good time. If we could win two games, we could get our momentum going."
Junior guard Raylond Lynch led the Falcons with 20 points, and sophomore guard Will Redwine chipped in 13 points. Harrison would like to see Lynch have the performance he had in last Tuesday’s game more often.
"He plays a lot and plays well defensively," Harrison said. "He is very quick and can make a move to the basket and score. He just doesn’t do it much."
During the Christmas break, Harrison watched a lot of film and realized his players weren’t rotating properly in the zone press. He saw a difference in the contest last Tuesday.
"I like to press, and (before) we weren’t reacting and creating turnovers," Harrison said. "We didn’t give up as many layups. Our confidence level is a little bit up but not where it needs to be."
Harrison sees something else happening with the Falcons. His junior high boys are winning and he thinks that is rubbing off on the senior high boys. The junior high boys are getting the attention around campus.
The key in the Wonderview contest is for the Academics Plus to play mistake-free. Wonderview doesn’t beat teams with skill and athleticism but by executing and getting the ball inside.
"They love basketball," Harrison said. "They get after you, play hard and don’t make mental mistakes. They have the kind of program we want to mirror."
Since his guys don’t show a lot of emotion and enthusiasm, Harrison thinks they are excited for the opportunities this week. Because they are young, the Falcons have lost some close games. He is ready for them to play four quarters and also knows they need to take care of business at home.
"It seems like everybody in our conference is winning at home and losing on the road," Harrison said. "We are still in the hunt to get as high as a four seed. Everybody is beating each other up, and we could maybe get a three. We have to have some help, and it is happening."