ALBANY, Ga. - Josey had its shot in the second round of the Class AA state playoffs Friday.
The Eagles just missed 48 of them. When the game was in doubt, Josey missed 48 of its 57 shots from the field.
That performance from the field was the major factor in a 53-39 loss to Bleckley County at James H. Gray Civic Center.
The other big difference was Bleckley's Carl Hall. The 6-foot-7 center had 11 points, 15 rebounds and blocked 13 shots.
"That's not too bad and a lot of work for a kid who was so tore up he didn't come out on the floor to start the game for us," Bleckley County coach Cliff Kerbo said.
"Tore up" didn't do his condition justice."
"He missed the first few minutes of the game tonight because he had a physical problem," Kerbo said.
Hall was in the bathroom when the game began with a stomach ailment.
"That's a competitor," Josey coach Shawn Parks said. "Says a lot about a kid that can miss the start of a state playoff game with that and come back like that."
Josey's tepid shooting played into exactly the kind of game the Royals wanted to play.
"Our main thing is we wanted to keep Josey out of the paint," Kerbo said. "They have just quick guards. We just wanted to find a way to slow them down and alter a few shots down there."
Josey (22-6) still managed to lead at the end of the first quarter despite missing 13 of its first 16 shots. The Eagles even led 9-4 with 6:08 to go in the first half.
That's when the shooting slump hit its worst slide. Josey went almost four minutes without scoring. The Eagles scored again with 2:18 to go in the first half to pull within 16-11.
"You could see their heads dropping and the fussing," Hall said. "They were getting good looks and missing."
Josey's Trumaine Jenkins had a theory about the offensive struggles.
"I can go back and blame the way most of the guys stayed up late last night at the hotel," said Jenkins, who led the Eagles with his 12 points. "Everybody in my room was asleep. That's four of us I knew who were focused on this game. But I don't know if I can say that for the rest of us."
Parks said the result wasn't what was expected.
"I felt that we had a lot more basketball left in us," he said. "Personally, I wanted more. I wanted a state championship. ... But we've got a good core of players coming back. This team took the right steps forward this year."
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLECKLEY COUNTY 53, JOSEY 39
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Bleckley County's Carl Hall. The 6-foot-7 center soared higher than any Eagle in the paint to block 13 shots. He also scored 11 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME: Josey missed 48 of 57 shots while the game was in doubt and its starters were on the floor.
NEXT: Josey ends the season with a record of 22-6. Bleckley County advances to the Class AA quarterfinals.