With two conference wins, Academics Plus is sitting much better in the 1A-5 standings. Last Tuesday, the Falcons defeated Lisa North, 68-57, and notched a quality 51-40 victory last Thursday over Nemo Vista. The only setback was a 58-57 non-conference loss to Abundant Life last Friday.
In the Lisa North game, the emphasis was on free throw shooting as that has been the Falcons’ downfall. Academics Plus (8-10, 3-5 1A-5) was led by Paul Sheesley’s 19 points, including a 5-of-8 performance from the free throw line. Raylon Lynch was 5-of-6 from the line and finished with 17 points. Sophomore Will Westenburger chipped in 16 points.
In the Nemo Vista contest, Harrison said it was the first time all year the Falcons executed the game plan. The game management was to keep close to Nemo and in the fourth quarter go to a delay game with the purpose of drawing out the Red Hawks and driving to the basket. Lynch made 11 of his 12 free throws (12-of-16 performance) in the fourth period and finished with 24 points.
“He is very, very quick,” Harrison said. “He took off the dribble, drove to the basket and drew the foul. He could be the best guard in the league but is very, very team-oriented.”
Sheesley and Westenburger contributed 11 points apiece. Harrison said Westenburger is coming on strong and has grown physically and mentally.
Harrison said Abundant Life was a fun and absolute fantastic game. The drama occurred in the fourth quarter, and at one point the Falcons had a 10-point lead.
“We won the first three periods,” he said. “One of the points of emphasis this year is the hand check, and we pulled out in our delay, and they had their hands all over us. They made it to the free throw line and also got the offensive rebound. You can’t give up three rebounds in the last three minutes.”
Academics Plus had a chance to win with six seconds remaining. A play drawn up to give Chabala Musonda a 3-point shot from the corner worked. Point guard Garfield Bloodman was to take the inbounds pass, drive and kick out to Musonda. He connected on the trey which gave the Falcons a one-point lead. However, the clock still had four seconds left, and Abundant Life pulled out the victory.
Last night, the Falcons played Lisa Academy, travel to Wonderview on Thursday, and face Conway Christian in a non-conference slate Friday.
“We match up well with Wonderview,” Harrison said. “The guys are confident and know they can compete well with anyone. We just have to make our free throws and rebound.”