Boys basketball looks ready for region play

  • Lumpkin’s Peyton Polk throws down a dunk versus the Hurricanes in the Thanksgiving tournament.
    Lumpkin’s Peyton Polk throws down a dunk versus the Hurricanes in the Thanksgiving tournament.
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The LCHS varsity boys basketball team gave all indications that its players are more than prepared to take on its region opponents when they went 1-2 versus some of the state’s best basketball teams at the Tabo’s Tipoff Classic Thanksgiving Tournament hosted by Jefferson High School during the holiday break.
Despite losing two of their three games during the event, the Indians showed the kind of fight, effort and attitude that should bode well for them when they open up Region 7-AAA play this week.
“We’re playing really well,” said LCHS head boys basketball coach Jeff Steele. “They’ve been fighting to the end in every game so far this season and have improved every game since the start of the season. Their attitudes are great and they are working well as a team. We’re starting to put things together and I keep stressing that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.”
The Indians showed a ton of fight when they met up with Dacula in the first round of the Tabo’s Tipoff Classic on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Led by scoring sensation Patrick Jackson’s 19 points, the Indians pushed Dacula to its limits with solid defense and an offensive scheme that Lumpkin’s players seemed comfortable and excelled in.
However, despite a furious effort by the Indians, Dacula was able to make a late run to defeat Lumpkin by a final score of 77-66.
Jackson’s 19 points led the Indians in the game. Jackson proved that no matter how crowded the low post is, he is going to score points for the Indians. Jackson contorted his body to make amazing shot after amazing shot and to get himself to the free throw line, something that has become routine for the standout player this season. Jackson also pulled down four rebounds in the loss.
Along with Jackson’s strong performance, the Indians received 15 points and four rebounds from Peyton Polk, 12 points and seven rebounds from Jacob Cumbie and nine points, five rebounds and five assists from point guard Gus Faulkner in the loss.
The 11-point defeat dropped the Indians’ overall record to 1-4.
The Indians bounced back from their loss to Dacula when they stepped onto the court to face off with the Monroe Area Hurricanes in the second round of the tournament on Monday, Nov. 25.
Lumpkin and Monroe Area went toe-to-toe in the first quarter, with both teams hitting big shots to keep the score close throughout. In the end, the Indians found themselves up by a point headed into the second quarter leading 18-17.
The second quarter proved to be more of the same, as both squads battled back-and-forth. However, the Hurricanes won the second quarter and went into the halftime break with a 33-32 advantage.
Polk and Jackson helped the Indians retake the lead in the third quarter. Lumpkin went on a 22-18 run in the third to take a 54-51 lead into the fourth quarter of action.
The Indians continued to play solid defense and knock down shots in the final quarter and went on a 23-16 run to emerge victorious by a final score of 77-67.
The win was thanks in large part to the offensive skills of Jackson and Polk. Jackson led the team with 28 points, eight rebounds and six steals in the victory. Polk also put up good numbers against the Hurricanes, scoring 18 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and recording four blocks.
Faulkner, in one of his best offensive games of the season, added 15 points and Cumbie finished the game with eight points and seven rebounds.
The win improved the Indians’ overall record to 2-4.
“It was a really good win,” Steele said. “I am proud of the way they played. They fought hard and were able to get the win against a strong team.”
The Indians concluded the Tabo’s Tipoff Classic with a game versus perennial playoff powerhouse St. Pius on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
The Golden Lions began the game by raining down threes and playing lockdown defense, allowing St. Pius to build a 24-12 lead by the end of the first quarter of play.
The Indians made some adjustments in the second quarter and put in a much better performance. Despite the improvement in Lumpkin’s game, the Golden Lions were still able to outscore the Indians 13-12 in the quarter and walked into the locker room at halftime holding on to a 37-24 advantage.
The Indians continued to give all-out effort and fight in the third quarter, but were once again outscored by St. Pius 21-20. Lumpkin trailed the Golden Lions 58-44 headed into the fourth and final quarter.
The Indians tried their best to cut into St. Pius’s lead in the fourth, but were not accurate enough from beyond the arc to make a comeback run.
In the end, the Golden Lions took the game by a final score of 76-55.
“They were playing at a higher gear than we were,” Steele said after the loss. “But, with as strong a team as they are, I am proud of what I saw on the court form our players. I am really encouraged by how we’ve improved.”
Jackson once again led the Indians’ offense, scoring 22 points in the loss. Polk and Cumbie each scored 10 points and Blake Barrett and Chandler Pulley both scored five points. Faulkner finished the game with three points.
The loss dropped the Indians’ overall record to 2-5.
Despite the 2-5 record to start the season, Steele believes that his players should be well prepared to contend with region opponents when Region 7-AAA play begins this week.
At press time, the Indians were set to face off with the Cherokee Bears on the road in their Region 7-AAA opener on Tuesday, Dec. 3. No official results were available.
The LCHS varsity boys basketball team will be back in action when they host the East Hall Vikings at the Longhouse at the LCHS gymnasium Dec. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.