Championships are hard to win. Performing in the regular season throughout a grueling schedule to earn a spot in the tournament or playoffs to earn the right to play for a championship will provide it’s ups and downs.
One bad game can cost a team the ultimate prize. Prince Avenue Christian School’s middle school girls basketball team had steamrolled most of it’s competition this season.
Admittedly, they weren’t themselves on Monday night as they fell to George Walton Academy 41-28 in the Athens Area League Championship game.
The Lady Wolverines trailed by a slim margin over the first two quarters but an 11-5 third quarter created a gap that proved to be insurmountable. The Lady Wolverines were led in scoring by eighth grader Kylie Wilson who scored 17 of the Lady Wolverines’ 28 points on Monday night.
PACS had beaten GWA twice in the regular season, but head coach Michael Palmer tipped his cap to the Lady Bulldogs for being prepared and more physical for Monday’s game.
“I thought they came out a lot more physical and they kind of got into us,” Palmer said. “For whatever reason, we seemed a little tight. I’m not sure why. All the credit goes to George Walton. I thought they did a good job not letting us cut and they did a good job switching off screens and it was very tough to get to the basket. They did a good job being physical and I didn’t have us ready for that.”
The Lady Wolverines won a lot of basketball games this season. They didn’t come away with the big trophy in the end and in the moments initially following the game there was plenty of raw emotion and disappointment. The things the Lady Wolverines accomplished, the things learned and taught are ingrained. The loss hasn’t diminished anything.
Even without the championship trophy to show for it in the end, the 2019-2020 PACS middle school basketball team holds a special place for their head coach.
The relationships and the bond that has been built of the last two seasons will last a lifetime. The passing of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant just a day before Monday’s game added a level of perspective for Palmer.
“Especially coming off the events of yesterday, it makes it even more valuable with the relationships and the experiences that we’ve had,” Palmer said. “At the end of the day, it sucks to not get the trophy we wanted. We wanted the big one and we didn’t get it, but at the end of the day, we’re all going to get to go home to our families. That’s what’s important.”