Josey boys basketball coach Jabari Levi didn’t have to search for abstract reasons why his team had two consecutive one-point losses.
After turning it over 25 times in losses against Laney and Glenn Hills, the Eagles improved in keeping possession and saw the benefits in a 57-46 win against Cross Creek in Monday’s Holiday Round Ball Classic at Laney.
Josey advanced to play Westside at 8:30 tonight in a semifinal game.
“When you turn the ball over, you’re not even getting shots,” Levi said. “Those are 25 shots we should have had.”
Following a win against Butler on Dec. 9, Josey’s miscues cost it twice.
In practice, the Eagles worked on cutting down on turnovers, and against the Razorbacks, they did. The lower turnover frequency helped Josey go on a few scoring spurts to ensure it ended its two-game skid.
The first run came with power inside, as Robert Askew, Deion Craig and Kyle Doyle helped jumpstart a 13-0 run to give Josey an 18-8 lead.
The Eagles’ second spurt pushed an eight-point edge to a 37-22 score in the second quarter. Doyle rebounded from an offensive foul to score seven points in a row during the run.
Josey’s final stretch secured the win as Josey (5-3) went on a 7-2 run late in the fourth.
Doyle led the way, scoring 16 of his 21 points in the second half, puncuating the win with a dunk right before the final buzzer.
“It feels good to get back to winning,” Levi said.
In the first quarter, though Cross Creek (5-4) hit a couple 3-pointers, foul trouble and some missed looks inside ultimately doomed the Razorbacks’ chances.
“That’s what did it right there,” Cross Creek coach Carlos Carter said.
Treaire Moore’s 15 points led to some tense moments, including one stretch when he drilled a 3-pointer and later hit three free throws after getting fouled from beyond the arc.
However, though Josey struggled at the line most of the night, Doyle often had the ball in his hands late, and he hit five of his six free throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Despite the close loss, Carter believes his team is right there with the rest of the area’s top teams.
“It gives us confidence we can compete every night,” said Carter.