Down by double digits the entire first half, the Franklin County Seahawks at home Friday night fought back against the undefeated Quincy Munroe Bobcats to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But Ray Bailey's squad couldn't seal the deal, and before a raucous home crowd, fell 51-48.
"We came out a little sluggish and as a head coach, I got to find a way to fix that," said Bailey. whose team fell to 3-2. "Against a decent ballclub, full of athletes like that, we can't put ourselves in a deficit like we did.
"Clawing back, without the numbers, it's tough but we did it. I'm proud of our effort the second half," he said. "Turnovers hurt us down the stretch; we had 27 of them on the night."
After beiong down by as much as 17 points in the first half, the Seahawks trailed by nine going into the locker room, and then exploded to start the third quarter.
Sparked by senior Jerymiah Stephens to drive the basket, the Seahawks took the lead for the first time with 7:20 left in the game, when he drove the basket on three consecutive possessions to give Franklin County a 42-39 lead.
But a Munroe three-pointer knotted it at 42-all.
Sophomore Ethan Kembro and senior Carter Kembro then made 6 of 6 free throws between them to give Franklin County a 48-44 lead.
But Munroe didn't slacken the defensive pressure they had conducted all game long, and took a 51-48 lead with seven seconds left.
Stephens' three-pointer at the buzzer caromed off the rim.
"They were one of the best defensive teams we'll see all year, aggressive, physical, strong, fast. They're pretty good," Bailey said.
"Ta'Shawn (Jones) came in and got some rebounds, blocked some shots, and Ethan hit some threes and put us back in it," Bailey said. "We got to take care of that basketball. We got a little fatigued, that mental toughness failed us That's my responsibility and I'll correct that. That's on me.
"We got to keep working. It's going to be a grind all season long," he said. "We're up for the challenge; I know I am. We're going to get better."
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