The Union Recorder

February 13, 2014

First round of tourney bittersweet for GMC Prep

Steven Cary
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — In the midst of all the game rescheduling on Tuesday due to weather concerns, Georgia Military Prep School came away with mixed results after the first round of Region 7-A playoff action.

Originally slated to take on Lincoln County at host site Wilkinson County, the GMC Prep boys contest was relocated to their home gymnasium where they ran away with a 63-42 victory over the Red Devils.

“We controlled it most of the way,” boys’ head coach James Lunsford said. “I think every quarter we managed to score more than they did. We had good play by the guys. It was a big win for us.”

Alex Moss posted 16 points with three assists to lead the squad, followed closely by Dalton Threatt who knocked down three three-point baskets in the contest and finished with 15 points.

Adding to the list of GMC Prep players in double-figures was Troy Campfield with 13 points and Quatavius Brisco with 12. Campfield also compiled four assists in the game, while Brisco had 12 on the afternoon.

“I’m real happy with this group,” Lunsford said. “We had four goals before we started this year: We wanted to win more games and have a winning record, we wanted to make the playoffs and we wanted to develop our guys mentally.”

The Bulldogs’ defense also stepped up as Campfield led the team at the post with seven rebounds and three blocks, with Moss and Threatt coming away with six apiece. Threatt managed to pick up three steals in the contest as well.

“We have developed about six or seven guys that have kind of carried us the last half of the season,” Lunsford said. “Lincoln had two that were averaging double figures, and we allowed only one to get close to double figures.”

Lunsford believes his squad has peaked at just the right time for the post-season.

“This is a very young team,” he said. “I think this team is more together and plays better defense and our shot selection is better. I feel like we’re playing as good as we could play right now.”

According to the confident head coach, Tuesday’s win is yet another step in developing the GMC Prep basketball program into a regional and state powerhouse.

“It was a great victory,” Lunsford said. “We used to not be able to beat these people, but now it’s almost a common occurrence that we beat them. We’re on our way to building a basketball tradition here at GMC.”

The win over the Red Devils propels the Bulldogs to their third region semi-final appearance in three years.

“This is the third year that we’ve been in the final four, so we feel real good about that,” Lunsford said. “We feel like our region is one of the toughest in the state.”

Though the boys live to fight another day, the GMC Prep girls were unable to stay afloat in one of the toughest regions, falling 50-28 in the first round of the tournament to Aquinas on the road Tuesday afternoon, ending the season.

“I thought our chances were very good,” girls’ head coach Shawn Dennis said. “I had scouted Aquinas twice, so we were very familiar with their offense and defense. We just played our worst game of the season at the worst possible time.”

Dennis admits the girls started to play well toward the end of the game, but ran out of time down the stretch.

“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” he said. “By the time we started playing, it was just too late.”

Keely Murner scored a team-high eight points in the contest accompanied by five rebounds for the Lady Bulldogs.

Also playing well for GMC Prep was Karlie Harding with six points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals against Aquinas.

For a Lady Bulldog team that has played its best basketball late in the season, ending the season on Tuesday is hard to fathom.

“It just didn’t seem like we played as hard as we did in the past few games,” Dennis said. “It’s a tough way to end the season.”

Despite the tough loss, Dennis admits the future looks bright for GMC Prep girls’ basketball.

“I’m just proud of the way the girls improved — it seemed like we got better in every game,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to next season.”

While the girls begin their build up toward next season, the boys attempt to stay alive this post-season as they take on Wilkinson County in the semi-finals at host site Aquinas at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.