It wasn’t the early 9-0 deficit Enterprise found itself in that derailed the Wildcats in their 53-45 season-ending loss to Jeff Davis in the first round of the 7A, Area 3 Tournament Tuesday night.
It was a stretch midway through the fourth quarter after the Wildcats had cut a 14-point deficit to just one.
“It’s a one-point game and we have about four empty possessions where we have a chance to take the lead,” EHS head coach Rhett Harrelson said Wednesday morning. “We turn it over, can’t catch passes, just couldn’t make the plays we needed to see how they would respond to us taking the lead for the first time in the game.”
Enterprise got back in the game, but couldn’t get over the hump and lost to the Vols for the second time in three games this season.
“We fought really hard defensively in the second half. We pressured them,” Harrelson said. “We just didn’t hit any shots. We had three 3s in the game and didn’t shoot a good percentage. We had seven, eight shots at the rim — and some of those were contested, but shots we can make.
“When you don’t shoot a good percentage from the floor — and I don’t know what it was, maybe around 35 percent — you put pressure on yourself. We scored 45 points and we were averaging around 62, 63. We just didn’t shoot well enough.”
Not much went right in the opening minutes.
“That 9-0 run early we turned it over three times, don’t get shots on our end and they get layups on the other end,” the coach said. “We cut it to 11-10 and I think they led 15-10 after the first quarter.”
Jeff Davis played “at a different speed” than Enterprise in the first half, Harrelson said.
“Really, for the entire first half they were more physical than we were,” he said. “The defended us. They frustrated us. They were in our face and took us out of running what we wanted to run.”
But it was either team’s game midway through the fourth quarter. The Wildcats finished their season 16-13 in a year that was challenging from the start.
“I love all of the kids, our players, managers, but it was just kind of an up-and-down year for us,” Harrelson said. “We had four seniors and three of them had ACL surgeries. One of them (Dallas Howell) returned. Since the middle of December we hadn’t had our full roster with us because of illnesses — flu and strep. It was just a weird year in terms of that.
“We were also down two coaches that we lost at the start of the school year. Just a lot of things that happened to us that we needed to overcome and we couldn’t.”
On Tuesday night, Quentin Hayes scored 13 points for the Wildcats. Howell finished with 12.
Jeff Davis (14-13) will play area champion and tournament host Robert E. Lee on Friday at 7 p.m.
In other Coffee County boys games Tuesday night:
Class 2A, Area 4
Zion Chapel 48,New Brockton 37Zion Chapel (14-14) advance to the tournament championship with the win, while the season came to an end for New Brockton (3-20).
Zion Chapel will play Goshen, a 95-61 winner over Samson, in the title game on Friday night.
Class 1A, Area 3
Kinston 44Taye Person had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Adam Carlisle had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead Brantley (18-5). Billy Burnett added 14 points and Kenuwyn Dixon 13 for the Bulldogs.
Kinston, whose season came to an end at 4-16, was led by Reece Hall with 14 points and Ayden Wallace with eight points.
Elba 44:The Wildcats hit 16 3-pointers and had five in double figures in the rout of Elba.
Rashaad Coleman had 25 points, nine steals and seven assists, Dixon Drakkar had 20 points and Mekhi James had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead Florala (20-6). Anthone Stone and Rayshon Coleman had 13 each.
Elba finished the season 3-14.