Prince Avenue’s boys basketball team dropped its first region match of the new year.
The Wolverines fell 55-39 last Friday night to Athens Christian School after turning the ball over 22 times to the Eagles. It was the first game back for seniors Logan Johnson and Dallas Pettus, who both had been dealing with injuries the last few weeks.
Pettus reportedly needed further evaluation on his injured knee as of two weeks ago, and he did not stay injured long. He traded a full leg brace for a simple knee brace and scored 3 points against the Eagles. After icing his knee that night, he came back for a team-high 11 points when the team traveled to Tallulah Falls High School on Saturday.
“Dallas is hurt but he played his butt off as a senior and for his teammates and that's all you can ask for as the coach,” head coach Brandon Jones said on Friday night. “He's a trooper. Once again, a lot of these guys are playing basketball because they like me for some strange reason.”
On Friday, sophomore Robert Skaggs had a team-high 13 points, followed behind by Phillip Kelley with 9 and Will Elrod with 8 points.
On Saturday, the Wolverines had three players score in double digits in their 55-48 loss to Tallulah Falls; Pettus and Elrod tied for 11 and James Robach scored 10 points.
The match on Friday started slow for the Wolverines. They only scored 5 points in the first quarter and had 14 points at halftime.
The Eagles played tight defense and used their athleticism to outperform the Wolverines. Johne’ss Davis could out-jump Skaggs and generated a couple steals doing just that.
“You can't turn the basketball over,” Jones said. “You've got to rebound on both sides of the floor. They showed great grit but at the same time you lost still. So, it takes what it takes, and it takes everything.”
The Eagles led by as many as 9 but as few as 2. In the third quarter, the Wolverines found their groove, scoring 18 of their 39 points, and made it 33-31 with a minute left to play.
“We were able to run and push and transition on a make or miss,” Jones said. “With that, shots began to fall because we're shooting a little bit closer to the basket and we're not pressing and up against a brick wall with their half-court defense.”
With 39 seconds remaining in the third, Logan Johnson was charged with a technical foul defending a shot. One official told Jones that it was because of a stare from Johnson, but she was not the referee who called the foul. The home crowd wasn’t happy and began to cheer louder, but the Eagles crowd matched the intensity.
“It's certainly not a rivalry to me because we get our butts kicked,” Jones said. “Rivalries are when one side wins, the other side wins.”
The Eagles outscored the Wolverines 16-7 in the final quarter and coasted to victory. The crowds continued to jest back and forth, but it didn’t bother Athens Christian head coach Carlos Strong when Jones asked him post-game.
“They were being students coach,” Strong said. “Nothing wrong with that.”
With the loss to Tallulah Falls on Saturday, Prince Avenue moved to 2-8 and 0-2 on the season.
On Tuesday after press time, the Wolverines hosted 1-5 Loganville Christian Academy and next Friday they host 2-9 Athens Academy to continue their region schedule.