Saturday, January 12, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Falcons falter against Bruins

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski boys suffered a disappointing loss at home to Pulaski Academy on Tuesday, falling 48-38. The Bruins played a matchup 3-2 zone and the Falcons failed to figure it out the entire game.

Pulaski Academy (5-3, 2-0) also continues to improve with the addition of point guard Marcus Wallace, who missed most of the nonconference season with injuries.

“We’re really fortunate to have a guard like Brandon Brady who is capable of playing the one or the two,” Pulaski Academy coach Roger Franks said. “But we’re much better when he can focus on moving without the ball and scoring more. We’re a better team with Marcus running the point, and he’s been doing a wonderful job since he returned.”

In many ways, the game became a battle between two freshmen. North Pulaski’s RaShawn Langston and Pulaski Academy’s Lawson Korita led their respective teams in scoring. Langston was the only Falcon in double figures with 17 points while Korita led four Bruins in double figures with 14.

North Pulaski’s pressure forced Korita to turn the ball over several times, but the Falcons failed to capitalize on many of the 16 turnovers they forced the Bruins into.

“We just missed too many opportunities,” North Pulaski coach Roy Jackson said. “I thought we played good defense and we got a lot of steals and forced turnovers, but we failed so many times to turn those into points. And then we have to take better care of the basketball too. We had way too many turnovers to just be playing against a matchup zone.”

North Pulaski (7-6, 1-1) overcame big deficits twice, but both times saw their work dissipate quickly. Pulaski Academy had led by as many as nine points in the first half before North Pulaski cut it to 24-20 by halftime. The Falcons then scored four quick points in the third quarter to tie the game with 7:20 left in the period. They didn’t score again in the third at all.

The defense was still there. The Bruins scored a bucket with six minutes left in the third to make it 26-24, and neither team scored again for almost five minutes. But the Bruins scored five in the final 1:26 of the quarter to take a 31-24 lead into the final frame.

Wallace drained a three pointer to make it a 10-point game early in the fourth, but the Falcons fought back with a 6-0 run.

A crucial turning point in the game came with 2:35 remaining. The Bruins answered North Pulaski’s run with seven straight points for a 41-30 lead. North Pulaski then scored six straight and sent Wallace to the line at 2:35 for a 1-and-1. Franks called the rest of his team over for a huddle, leaving four Falcons and Wallace at the free-throw lane. Wallace missed the front end, but got his own rebound among the flat-footed Falcons and was fouled again going back up.

“We just can’t afford those kinds of mental breakdowns,” Jackson said. “We’ve got some talent this year, but we don’t have the kind of talent that can overcome all the mistakes we’re making. We have to clean this up and be a more sound basketball team.”

The Lady Falcons dropped their second-straight conference game, losing 50-21 to the Lady Bruins (6-6, 1-1). North Pulaski (3-6, 0-2) didn’t score its first basket until the 4:22 mark of the second quarter. Pulaski Academy’s Joy Porter hit a bucket 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to start the mercy rule clock at 47-16.