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Straughn drops close contest to New Brockton

Straughn suffered a bitter defeat Friday night, missing free throws and shots around the basket as New Brockton pulled out a four-point win, 53-49.

It was slow going for both teams in the first quarter as the Tigers (4-6) put up only two points while the Gamecocks put up five.

“It was lousy shooting in the first half and free throws,” Straughn coach Todd Reynolds said. “So, we had the ability to get it to one and take the lead, but could not make free throws. That was the story of the game.

“That was (New Brockton’s) Achilles’ heel when we played them last time,” he said. “There’s no way you can predict starting out shooting that cold. There were open shots and open looks and they just wouldn’t go in.”

In the second quarter, the Gamecocks kept making layup after layup to pull ahead by 12 points and force a timeout for Straughn with 2:31 left in the first half. At that point, the Gamecocks led 15-3.

The Tigers went in the locker room at halftime down by 13 points and as they entered the court for the second half, the momentum changed.

Reynolds said the “intensity” of the game came mainly from the visiting team.

“(New Brockton) had a full game level intensity,” he said. “We only had it for about two quarters. Again, we had a couple of starters not start out real well. So, we’re still looking for consistency and free throws.”

The Gamecocks scored seven points early in the third to go up 27-14 with 4:10 left.

Soon after, Straughn got to within nine points of New Brockton’s lead with 58.5 left.

Five points later, the Tigers were down only by four, heading into the last quarter of the game.

With 1:35 left in the fourth quarter, Straughn was down by five points (48-43) and timeout was called to gather their composure.

On their next possession, Straughn nailed a 3-pointer and coach Todd Reynolds used his last timeout with 1:10 left.

After getting the ball back from New Brockton, the Tigers tipped the ball in while getting fouled, tying it at 48 apiece.

With the free throw, the Tigers took the lead, 49-48.

New Brockton put up a two-pointer to go up by one point and, after another timeout by New Brockton, a two-pointer and a foul later sealed the game for the Gamecocks.

Reynolds said the result of the game is nothing new to his team’s season.

“When we decide to have some consistency and decide to make some free throws, we’ll win more of those,” Reynolds said. “That’s been the story of our season. We’ve lost four games by seven or fewer points.

“When we can make clutch shots and make free throw in the clutch, that’ll be the difference in our season,” he said. “When you have a young team, it takes some time.”

The leading scorers for the Tigers were Malcolm Perrin and Jakim Felton, who both put up nine points, and Austin Pickrel who put up seven.

In earlier action Friday night, the Lady Tigers defeated New Brockton 59-11.

Leading scorer was Kayla Teel with 17 points.