MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Curtis Baptist coach John Spurlock stood, arms crossed, brow furrowed – utterly perplexed – in the hallway outside his team’s locker room following the Crusaders’ GISA Class AA state tournament semifinal loss.
Spurlock’s squad led by as many as eight points in the second half, yet lost 50-49 to Frederica on Thursday night.
Spurlock reasoned that his team wasn’t outhustled, or outmuscled in the fourth quarter. He settled on its poor shot selection.
“We were hurrying shots, not being patient,” Spurlock said. “Just not the type of shots we wanted at that point in the game.”
Four Crusaders scored in double figures, led by Brian Wilson’s 13 points. Cole Swanson, Ian Gonder and Julian Owens added 10 points each.
Frederica went to a full-court press in the second half that seemed to limit the Crusaders’ opportunities and force more turnovers than in the opening stanza.
Khari Pressley’s layup with 3:36 remaining put Frederica (21-4) ahead.
The Crusaders (19-13) managed to tie it twice but found themselves down by a point with 3.2 seconds remaining. With the primary target covered, Wilson inbounded the ball to Gonder, who heaved a 3-point attempt as the buzzer sounded.
“(Gonder) was our second option there, but he’s a very good option” Spurlock said.
Gonder’s shot, however, bounded off the front of the rim like so many of the shots the Crusaders launched down the stretch.
Owens dominated the second quarter, which saw him score nine consecutive points – including two 3-pointers - for the Crusaders en route to a 27-22 lead at the half. He was shut out in the second half.
Curtis Baptist employed a zone defense with Justin Wilson trailing Sam Heery – Frederica’s perimeter scoring threat – wherever he went on the court. It worked in the first half as Heery mustered merely two points. In the second half, however, Heery got untracked and scored 13 points.
Frederica will play First Presbyterian for the state championship on Saturday.