Balanced Effort Leads Fuqua To Victory At Home

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, February 3, 2011

FARMVILLE – Needing a victory – any kind of victory – to slow a recent losing trend, the Fuqua School boys basketball team put together a complete-team effort in a 56-42 home victory over Richmond Christian on Tuesday night at Gilmer Gymnasium.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, the victory didn't come without some bad news. Midway through the second quarter, FS senior center LeVon Harper twisted his ankle, and though he was able to come back, he was noticeably hobbled.

If there is some good that can be drawn from an injury to a team's leader, the remainder of the team stepped up with a balanced scoring effort, as Fuqua put four players in double-figures on the night.

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“It's the most consistent we've played throughout an entire game all year,” said Fuqua head coach John Baldwin. “When LeVon went down, everyone stepped up. It wasn't just one player. Everyone picked their game up.

“We knew we would need this kind of effort tonight. Richmond Christian's record doesn't show that it has played in a lot of close, tight games. We knew they would be looking at this game as an opportunity to pick up a big road victory.”

Fuqua used the outside shot to build an early lead. The Falcons got three-pointers from Harper, senior Price Gantt and sophomore Carter Cunningham, to build a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Up 21-10 with about five minutes left in the first half, Harper went down. Sensing a change in momentum, the Warriors put together a little run.

Cunningham buried his third three-pointer of the half with four minutes remaining in the half to push Fuqua's lead back to ten points at 24-14. That seemed to stabilize his team, and the Falcons took a 27-17 lead into the intermission.

Fuqua guard Jai Jamerson hit a three-pointer with five minutes left in the third quarter as part of a 9-0 run that gave the Falcons their biggest lead of the game at 38-22 on a second Jamerson bucket with 3:30 left in the period.

Richmond Christian put together another run to cut Fuqua's lead back under ten points, but the Falcons were able to counter every RCS rally with one of its own.

Harper re-injured his ankle with Fuqua up 47-31 with 3:30 remaining in the contest.

Again, the Warriors made a run, this one an 8-0 spurt that brought their deficit to 47-38, but Fuqua School junior Charles Williams halted the rally with two foul shots and another bucket, while Gantt buried both ends of a one-and-one to help the Falcons regain their ten-point cushion.

“We took good shots for the most part tonight,” said Baldwin. “Jai played the best game he's played all year. Whenever we needed a play we got it. And it came from someone different each time.”

Cunningham led the Falcons with 13 points on the night, while Jamerson and Williams scored 12 points apiece and Harper added 11 points with 10 rebounds and five blocks. Gantt scored seven.

The Falcons were 15-21 (71 percent) from the foul line.

Richmond Christian was led by Tyler Grant, who had 12 points, while leading scorer Otis Williams was held to 11 points – about half his average. Zachary Poston added ten. The Warriors were 10-21 from the foul line.

Fuqua was scheduled to play at Steward School on Friday night. The Falcons upset Steward 48-40 back in December.

“They'll be ready for us, I'm sure,” said Baldwin. “For us, it all comes down to taking good shots. We've shown all year, that when we do, we get good results.”

After Friday's game, Fuqua will host Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot on Monday, and will travel to Southampton Academy next Wednesday.