Thanksgiving break was a rough one for the Georgia Military Prep School basketball teams, as both squads dropped their first home contest of the season on Friday to Monticello and came up short to Putnam County on the road on Saturday.
GMC Prep's boys were just shy of a win in its contests, falling 68-63 to the Hurricanes on Friday in front of a home crowd and 46-42 to Putnam on Saturday.
“I think Monticello played well; they did a good job,” James Lunsford, head coach, said. “You know, we're not playing as well as we need to be.”
The long-time head coach admits the Bulldogs played well defensively against their opponents, but cannot seem to get the offense running properly against the strong competition with a 33 percent field goal percentage against Monticello and 29 percent against Putnam.
“Our free throw shooting was atrocious and scoring hasn't been our thing,” Lunsford said. “I think we're just having trouble scoring-I think we're playing good enough defense to beat anyone-our problem is that offensively we're not executing very well, we're not getting good shots and it didn't help when we did get fouled we didn't make the free throw. I think in both games we just didn't execute offensively.”
Facing a difficult schedule once again, Lunsford expects his young team to improve drastically throughout the season.
“If I must say so, we played a double-A school and a triple-A school, but you know it's a matter of us executing. This time of year you can't afford to make mistakes when you're playing good people,” he said. “We're just making too many errors, but I think in time this is going to be something we can build on. We're 1-2 in a tough schedule, a schedule that is going to get even tougher, but that's just the way it's got to be.”
Leading the team offensively, Quatavius Brisco put up 21 points and four steals against the Hurricanes at home and 10 points against the Eagles on Saturday.
Trevor Tyus also shot the ball well against Monticello, scoring 13 points for the Bulldogs.
“I think Quatavius Brisco has done a really good job,” Lunsford said. “He's had to do double-duty, having to try and score some and run the offense.”
Defensively, Troy Campfield leads the squad notching eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals against Monticello and 12 rebounds with five blocked shots against Putnam. Lunsford expects the tall junior to start making more of an impact offensively for the team as the season unfolds.
“Troy has done well defensively, but he's just not scoring the way we'd like for him to score,” Lunsford said.
Newcomer, T.J. Lowe-Foston has also become a consistent force for GMC Prep this season grabbing nine rebounds and a steal against the Hurricanes, as well as three steals on Saturday against the Eagles.
Each of the Bulldogs' last three contests were decided by no more than five points.
“We're in every game we play,” Lunsford said. “We can win or lose, but there aren't many teams that can say that.”
The Lady Bulldogs have struggled in each of their contests so far this season, falling 35-27 against Monticello on Friday and 39-17 to Putnam on Saturday.
While the girls were better prepared for their competition after their loss to Thomson in the first game of the season, mistakes on offense hindered their ability to match the Lady Hurricanes and Lady Eagles.
“In the Monticello game I thought we played well. We had a good idea of what they were going to do defensively-it was the same kind of stuff that Thomson did,” Shawn Dennis, head coach, said. “We worked on it all week and we kind of ironed out some of the kinks that we had in our offense. On offense we played better, but a few crucial turnovers at the wrong time and it didn't work out for us.”
Despite the losses, Dennis is pleased with the defensive play of the girls thus far, as the Lady Bulldogs have held their last two opponents to less than 40 points in a single contest.
“Our defense is playing well,” he said. “My goal was to hold teams to around 35, 37 points, and that's pretty much what we've been doing outside of Thomson.”
Kaylie Harding currently leads the Bulldogs averaging six rebounds, five points, a steal and a block per game, followed by Keely Murner who has averaged four points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals per game.
“Kaylie Harding is playing well for us. I have her playing a couple different positions,” Dennis said. “She's the tallest player we have, so she goes from playing a post to a guard, and it's throwing a lot at her. Sometimes she gets a little confused, but she's handling it well.”
Still early in the season, Dennis admits the girls are still learning their roles this season.
“We're just trying to learn what to do, when to do it and who needs to be where,” he said. “Watching film on the last couple games, it's a lot of the little stuff-like screening the right person, setting yourself up off the screen, boxing out rebounding and just making good passes-it's all stuff we can fix.”