Coach Ray Bailey had mixed feelings after Friday night’s highly touted match-up against highly-ranked Quincy Crossroads Academy, a team expected to vie with the Franklin County Seahawks for mastery of the Class 1A Panhandle ranks.
“The only team that can beat us in ourselves and that’s what happened tonight,” said Bailey, following a review of the stats that not only showed a 72-66 loss, but a 7 for 16 night at the free throw line, and a troubling imbalance when it came down to offensive rebounding.
“We should have got beat by 30 but it shows what kind of team we are,” said Bailey.
By that the coach was referring to the fact that after falling behind 8-0 in the opening minutes, and later down by 15 points going into the fourth quarter, the Seahawk varsity basketball team made a game of it on their Senior Night, when sophomore Owen Poloronis nailed one of his six three-pointers with a minute left to play, to bring the game within three, 68-65.
But after senior guard Lamarius Martin hit one of two free throws, to make it a two-point game, that’s as far as the Seahawks could go.
“From the start we just seemed out of whack,” Bailey said. “We played timid the whole night. But I’m proud of them; they fought back.”
A raucous crowd gave the Seahawks the support they needed as they fought back from the opening tip to erase the deficit, and take a 16-15 lead on the back of a shooting spree by senior guard Eden Brathwaite. He would finish with 14 points, behind Martin’s 23, and Poloronis’ 18.
But Martin got into foul trouble, and his absence helped turn a 20-19 deficit going in to the second quarter, to a 35-28 bulge heading to the locker rooms at the half.
“I had to pull him,” said Bailey. “I need him; that’s my gamer.”
With five minutes left in the game, Brathwaite too would foul out, although the coach takes responsibility for that, having lost track of how many fouls his senior standout had.
If the Seahawks hoped to burst into the second half with a run, it was not to be, as Crossroads, led by sophomore sensation Kris Parker, widened their bulge.
“In the third we came out flat again,” said Bailey. “Our shot selection was terrible all night.”
In the end, though, the coach attributed the loss to two critical factors, a lousy night at the charity stripe and a failure to pull down offensive rebounds.
“We got to rebound and take care of the basketball,” he said, estimating at least 20 turnovers and a dozen missed offensive rebounds.
“Our free throw shooting was ridiculous, horrible, seven for 16. In a competitive game like this you can’t shoot 40 percent from the free throw line,” Bailey said.
“Well see them four times this year,” he promised.
The Seahawks travel to Gulf Coast State College Monday to face Mosley, and then play Jacksonville Bowles Tuesday, a Class 5A school.
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Error-prone Seahawks fall to Crossroads