CALIFORNIA — The Jamestown Eagles boys basketball team (10-11) saw its season end Feb. 23 with a 50-46 loss to the Community Trojans (5-18) in the semifinal round of the Class 1 District 1o Tournament.
The Eagles led 11-10 late in the first quarter; a three-pointer by Cole Higgins extended the Eagles’ lead to 14-10 with less than 2:00 left in the opening period. The quarter ended with the Eagles leading by the same score.
In the second quarter, the Eagles kept the lead at 16-10 early on after a basket by Skylar Duncan with just more than 7:00 left before halftime. The Eagles extended their lead to eight points at 18-10. Then, both teams went on a scoring drought and Community took advantage, going on a 7-0 run to bring the game within a point at 18-17 with less than 3:00 left in the half. The Eagles made it 20-17 after two free throws but again could not get the ball in the hoop; Community capitalized with a 4-0 run to end the quarter and take a 21-20 lead into the break.
Jamestown’s scoring troubles only continued in the third quarter; Community went on a 12-0 run to extend its lead to 33-20 with less than 4:00 to go in the quarter. The Eagles got their first points of the second half thanks to a basket by Travis Barbour to make it a 33-22 game with just more than 3:00 left in the quarter. Then, the Eagles cut the lead down to single digits courtesy of a three-pointer by Duncan, making it a 35-26 game right before the buzzer.
The Eagles continued to slowly get back into the game in the final quarter, as Higgins made a three-pointer and scored again after forcing a steal to make it a 37-31 game with around 6:45 left in the game. A basket off an offensive rebound by Higgins, followed by a three-pointer by Mark Sorrells on the Eagles’ next possession, made it a one-point game at 37-36 with around 4:30 left to play. The two teams traded baskets as Jamestown fought to stay in the game, another three-pointer by Sorrells making it a 41-40 game with around 1:45 left until the final buzzer.
Community extended its lead to 46-40 with just more than 1:00 on the clock, but again, Jamestown fought back to bring the game within one possession as the Eagles made it a 46-44 game with 28 seconds left. Forced to foul in the final seconds, the Eagles trailed 48-44 after two free throws by Community with 20 seconds left. Sorrells made a big shot to pull the Eagles back within two points at 48-46 with nine seconds left.
After another foul, Community made its first free throw to make it a 49-46 game but missed the second; the Eagles were able to get the rebound. The team had no timeouts left as players rushed down the court to try to get the last shot. In the rush, the team turned the ball over after being called for traveling with two seconds left in the game. Community was able to ice the game with one more free throw to make it a four-point game in the final seconds and advance to the district championship game.
Eagles head coach Jay Thompson said the team found a way to fight back in the game, and he hopes the players learn how to use that experience in life.
Allowing offensive rebounds was a problem for the Eagles in the game, especially late in the game, as Community was able to use its height to its advantage and claim 12 offensive rebounds in the second half. Thompson said the team has to be strong and stick to the fundamentals when trying to box out bigger opponents.
“Get those guys out of there so that the only option is to go over the back to get that basketball,” Thompson said.
The Eagles struggled on offense in the second and third quarters, only scoring 12 total points during that span — six points in the second quarter and six points in the third. Thompson said Community caused some trouble for Jamestown while on offense and the Eagles’ defense was not getting their offense going.
“When your defense is not getting your offense going, and it wasn’t for us, you are going to struggle,” Thompson said.
Sorrells and Higgins led the Eagles with 16 points each.
Thompson said the Eagles’ ability to bring the game back to within one point showed the players are warriors.
“They learned not to give up and that anything can happen,” Thompson said. “We were a play away from possibly making something happen.”
For the players who will return next year, Thompson said they can use this loss to get better.
“A loss is the worst thing if you don’t learn from it,” Thompson said. “You need to learn from it, maybe get off to a faster start, get in the weight room, get a little bit more physical rebounding and things like that.”