Off to rough starts

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

Red Level could not hold on down the stretch Thursday night at the Straughn Christmas Shootout, losing to McKenzie 63-58.

It was the second time the teams faced each other in less than a week.

On Monday night, Red Level came out with a 75-58 win over McKenzie.

“We’re just disappointed in the loss,” Red Level coach Fred Kelley said. “We just give a lot of credit to McKenzie — they did what they had to do down the stretch. They made some clutch free throws.”

In Thursday night’s game, Red Level was down five points at halftime at 31-26.

Early in the third quarter, Red Level added eight points compared to McKenzie’s four to force McKenzie to call timeout.

“We really came out with intensity in the second half and we’ve got to have intensity up all the time,” Kelley said. “It’s got to be high whether you are playing or on the free throw line.

“We’ve just got to keep getting better,” he said. “We’ve got to get something positive out of this tournament and get something good. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and that’s going to be the key.”

Red Level led by three points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but McKenzie quickly rattled off nine points with four minutes left to play.

From the 4-minute mark, Red Level could not come back from its deficit. The closest they got to tying the game up was with 2.4 seconds left in the game, when Red Level called a timeout after a jumper to bring the score to 61-58.

McKenzie had three players in double figures. Cliff Pugh led with 14 points. Kendrick Ball and Marcus Mitchell also had a good night for their team with 12 points apiece.

Red Level’s James Feagin led in scoring with 13 points and Trey Salter had 12.

Kelley added that Thursday night’s game is a game that his players can “learn” from.

“This is not where we want to be, but we’re heading into the right direction,” he said. “These kids are coachable and they listen and are working hard. It’s just a matter of getting everything together and getting our rotation right. This tournament will do us a lot of good.”

Red Level will play the loser of the Straughn-Goshen game tonight at 5 p.m.

Brantley 71,

Pleasant Home 42

Pleasant Home could not come back from a 37-24 deficit at halftime, falling to Brantley, 71-42.

The Eagles managed only 10 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second, compared to Brantley’s 14 and 23.

In the second half, Brantley took the lead scoring 34 points in both quarters compared to Pleasant Home’s 18.

Program 23’s Kendall Davis contributed to this story.

The Straughn-Goshen game at 8 p.m. was not completed as of press time Thursday. Look for complete coverage of the tournament in Saturday’s edition of the Andalusia Star-News.