Learning how to finish

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fuqua School’s varsity boys basketball team hosted Peninsula Catholic High School on Saturday and held its own against the challenging Knights. With the score tied 64-64 at the end of regulation, the Falcons developed a lead as great as seven points in overtime and withstood a Knights rally to win 78-75 — their third win in a row.

The Falcons could have secured the win sooner if they had hit more free throws, but they did hit some, and almost every single one ended up being pivotal to the win. Making shots late at the charity stripe were Fuqua junior point guard Jaylen Hempfield, sophomore guard Maureon Tisdale-Couch and freshman guard Tanner Thomas.

Following the victory, Falcons Head Coach Mike Edwards said that his team stressed him out but that it also showed growth against Peninsula Catholic.

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“I felt like I had two, three heart attacks, but down the stretch, my guys are starting to pick it up and learn, ‘We’ve got to close it out, we’ve got to finish,’” he said. “If this was the beginning of the season, we would have given that lead up, and (we) would have lost by five, seven points.”

Edwards said he did not have any individual players to highlight from Saturday’s game because it was a team effort.

“We wouldn’t get down here to shoot those free throws if we didn’t work collectively as a group down there on defense to secure the rebound in order for us to get fouled,” he said. “Tonight was, for sure, (an) all-out team effort, no question.”

Tisdale-Couch, who returned to the lineup from injury Dec. 21, led the Falcons with 18 points. Junior forward/guard Matt Osborn and Thomas scored 17 points apiece, and Hempfield added 12.

As for his team’s 8-5 overall record so far this season, Edwards said, “I feel good about that. There was one (game) that I wish we could get back, which was against Veritas, so we could be 9-4. Fork Union I wish we could get back. We were beating them at the end of the third quarter, lost that one, so (we could be) 10-3. So, there’s a bunch of games where we had it; we just didn’t know how to finish, and we lost those. But I think those games have prepared us for what’s going on now with this run that we’re making.”