Perplexed is how Academics Plus Coach John Harrison is feeling.
Last Friday against Wonderview, the Falcons (9-15, 5-8 5A-North) had a 10-point lead with six minutes left in the game. Next thing he knew, they were down by 20 points and lost 73-56.
“In the last timeout, and I think we were still up by four, I told the guys they were going to pressure us and to not panic,” Harrison said. “I had an odd feeling. I know they know what to do, but they can’t get it done.”
The Falcons went from owning a 10-point lead to being down by 20 points in two and a half minutes. During that stretch, Wonderview made five 3-point baskets in a row while Academics Plus had seven turnovers and one bad shot. That scenario is indicative of how the Falcons season has gone. Either, they are ahead and lose the lead or lose a close game at the end.
“We beat them for three and a half quarters,” Harrison said. “We have to stop doing that and find a way to win games in the fourth quarter.”
Harrison believes lack of experience has something to do with the meltdowns as most of his players didn’t start playing basketball until their freshmen years. The other thing that was frustrating is that Wonderview did nothing different.
“We quit playing defense and got in a rush and made the turnovers,” Harrison said. “The kids get nervous and scared they are going to make a mistake. It’s hard to work in practice on playing with a lead.”
This week is a chance for redemption as Academics Plus has a full week with three games. Last night, they hosted Nemo Vista. On Thursday, they travel to Sacred Heart and have a makeup game Friday at home against Little Rock Lisa Academy. That contest was cancelled last Tuesday.
Nemo Vista is a taller team, and Harrison says about 6-foot-4 across. However, Nemo Vista also lost to Wonderview by 25 points. He likes the matchup with Sacred Heart.
“Sacred Heart is a good game for us,” Harrison said. “They are struggling right now and have lost seven in a row. It could be an interesting game, and we match up with them.”
Even though the Falcons are losing, they haven’t lost their enthusiasm. Harrison says they haven’t gotten down on themselves. He tells them good things will happen and the ball will bounce their way. The main thing he wants to see is for the Falcons to do things right the whole game and not falter in the last minutes.