LCHS Boys basketball drops game to Warriors, tops Fannin

  • Senior Peyton Polk throws down an emphatic dunk at the buzzer versus the White County Warriors at the Longhouse on Saturday, Jan. 18.
    Senior Peyton Polk throws down an emphatic dunk at the buzzer versus the White County Warriors at the Longhouse on Saturday, Jan. 18.
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The LCHS varsity boys basketball team watched the two-game winning streak it started at the beginning of last week end when the Indians lost a tight battle against the White County Warriors on Saturday night, dropping Lumpkin’s overall record to 8-13.
The Indians began the week by traveling to East Hall to square off with the Vikings at Valhalla on Tuesday, Jan. 14, in a Region 7-AAA matchup.
Lumpkin and East Hall went back-and-forth in the first quarter of play. The Indians tried to keep pace with the Vikings, but found themselves behind 22-18 headed into the second quarter. Lumpkin relied heavily on its defense in the second quarter of play to keep it within striking distance of East Hall, as its offense tried to figure out how to break the Vikings’ press. The Indians found themselves down by seven points when the halftime buzzer sounded with East Hall leading 38-31.
The third quarter changed the complexion and momentum of the contest, as the Indians caught fire offensively and outscored the Vikings 19-6 to take a 50-44 advantage into the final quarter.
The Indians didn’t allow East Hall to mount a serious comeback threat in the fourth quarter and through their defense closed out the game to win the game by a final score of 64-54.
With prolific scorer Pat Jackson likely out for the remainder of the season due to injury, the Indians showed that they have enough firepower in their lineup without Jackson to earn victories in what was a solid team effort against the Vikings.
Peyton Polk had a sensational game for Lumpkin, dropping 21 points while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists. Polk’s performance led the team.
Jacob Cumbie continued his terrific season for the Indians with 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the victory. The guard proved fearless when driving the basket and was clutch when his team needed him to be the most versus East Hall.
Gus Faulkner, whose game has picked up considerably over the course of the past few weeks, delivered  a nine-point, seven-assist game at point guard.
Chandler Pulley and Brian Cunane also scored nine points apiece for the Indians in the win.
“I am proud of the way they battled,” said LCHS head boys basketball coach Jeff Steele. “Being able to turn a seven-point deficit into a win versus a region opponent isn’t an easy thing to do, but the guys worked hard, fought their way back and just kept competing.”
The win improved the Indians’ overall record to 7-12 and their region record to 3-5.
The Indians continued to play solid team basketball when Lumpkin hosted region rival Fannin County at the Longhouse at the LCHS gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 17, for a conference matchup.
The Rebels came into the contest looking for revenge for the 65-64 overtime loss the Indians handed to them in the two teams’ first matchup of the season, but Lumpkin wouldn’t allow the Rebels the redemption they sought for.
After falling behind 4-0 in the opening minutes of the game, the Indians went on a 12-3 run to capture a 12-7 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Lumpkin and Fannin slugged it out like two prize fighters in the second quarter, but the Indians came out of the ordeal with a slight 15-13 advantage to take a 27-20 lead into halftime.
The Rebels cut the Lumpkin lead to 40-35 with a 15-13 run in the third quarter.
Holding a five-point lead headed into the final quarter, the Indians quickly upped their lead to 10 points in the opening minutes of the fourth. The Rebels continued to claw and fight in an effort to close the gap between themselves and the Indians, but Lumpkin proved too strong and held on to emerge victorious by a final score of 53-44.
Cumbie recorded a double-double in the win and led the offense with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Faulkner and Pulley also put up 12 points against the Rebels. Faulkner managed the floor well for the Indians and was able to pick apart the Fannin defense throughout. Pulley displayed his ability to launch the ball from beyond the arc, knocking down four three-pointers for the Indians.
“It feels good to get the win,” Steele said. “We held them off towards the end of the game and showed that we could finish.”
The win improved the Indians’ overall record to 8-12 and their region record to 4-5. The victory also put Lumpkin in the midst of a two-game winning streak.
Unfortunately that streak would come to end when the Indians hosted the White County Warriors the next day, Jan. 18, at the Longhouse for a non conference game.
Both teams flexed their defensive muscles in the opening quarter of the contest, leading to a low-scoring first quarter.
The Warriors held an 11-6 lead in the final minute of the quarter, but the Indians went on a 5-0 run to end the period and evened the score at 11-11 headed into the second quarter of play.
The two teams continued to utilize stingy defenses to keep the game low scoring, but Lumpkin was able to eke out one more point than White County, thanks to an emphatic slam dunk by Polk at the halftime buzzer, to take a 20-19 advantage into the break.
The Indians once again outscored the Warriors in the third quarter. The 9-7 run by Lumpkin allowed the Indians to go into the final quarter with a slim 29-26 advantage.
The fourth quarter proved to be a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. The Warriors tied the game at 29-29 and then proceeded to take the lead with a 6-2 run. Down 35-31, the Indians battled back with a 4-0 run to even the game back up at 35-35. The Warriors retook the lead with another 6-2 run, but once again the Indians came fighting back and tied the game again at 41-41 with less than a minute left in regulation.
However, strong free throw shooting by the Warriors and a couple missed opportunities by Lumpkin in the final seconds of the contest allowed White County to pulled out a close 45-42 win.
The loss snapped the Indians’ winning streak and dropped the team to 8-13 overall.
Despite the loss, the Indians received another solid team performance from their players.
Cumbie led the offensive charge for Lumpkin with 15 points and three rebounds. Faulkner followed right behind Cumbie with 11 points, six assists and four rebounds.
Other notable performances came from Pulley, Polk and Cunane. Pulley finished the game with seven points, Polk contributed five points and five rebounds and Cunane added four points and seven rebounds.
Despite the loss, Steele is optimistic by what he saw from his team during the busy week on the hardwood. The Lumpkin coach, who has preached that the season is a marathon and not a sprint, believes that his players are beginning to peak at the right time of the season with just three games remaining on the 2019-2020 regular schedule.
At press time, the LCHS varsity boys basketball team was set to host Greater Atlanta Christian in a Region 7-AAA matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 21. No official results were available.
The Indians will step back onto the court when they travel to Dawson County to face off with their neighboring region rivals this Friday, Jan. 24. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.