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Boys Hoops Draws Close but Can’t Finish in Region 7 Tournament Opener at Hancock Central 71-64

SPARTA, Ga. – The FPD varsity boys basketball team (14-10, 5-6 Reg. 7), the no. 4 seed from the West, fought hard for the first half and the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Hancock Central Bulldogs (20-5, 12-1 Reg. 7), the no. 1 seed from the East, falling 71-64 on Wednesday night in the first round of the GHSA Class-A Region-7 Tournament at Hancock Central High School.

The Bulldogs advance to the play Stratford Academy in the semifinals while FPD will have to wait for the final GHSA Class-A Private Power Ratings next week to see if they will earn a bid into the Class-A Private State Tournament (FPD is currently no. 16 in the Power Ratings with the Top-16 advancing at season’s end).

“I thought our guys played really hard and played some of our best basketball in the first half and in that fourth quarter,” FPD head coach Michael Walton said. “But we came out sluggish to begin the third quarter and that really cost us the game I think.”

The Vikings trailed by one at 17-16 at the end of the first quarter and by just two at 41-39 at halftime to Hancock, who is ranked no. 7 in the GHSA Class-A Public Power Ratings and no. 5 in the Score Atlanta Class-A Public Poll.

“We felt good at halftime,” Walton said. “We were running with them and when it looked like it was getting away from us, we fought back. I can’t fault the guys for their effort.”

The third quarter was a different story.

The Bulldogs outscored the Vikings 22-9, led by a 10 point charge by Devojia Tucker in the quarter.

“We didn’t put the ball in the basket and they did,” Walton said. “Coach (Anthony) Webb does a good job with those guys and hats off to them for the win.”

FPD, down 63-48 at the end of the third quarter, finished the contest on a 16-8 run but it was too little too late.

Hancock’s Alex Brook’s paced the way with a game-high 21 points while Tucker totaled 15.

The Vikings were led in scoring by the 17 points of Titus Moore while Wesley Wilson chipped in with 13.

“I’m proud of our guys regardless of if we make it to the State Tournament or not,” Walton said. “We grew up this year and improved as a basketball team. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

FPD improved its win total by eight games in a year’s span after finishing 6-16 in 2014-15.

Check www.fpdvikings.com, @FPDVikingSports on Twitter and FPD Athletics on Facebook for an announcement next week on if the the Vikings earn a spot in the Class-A Private State Tournament.

If FPD does not qualify for state, Wednesday’s game marks the final game for the Class of 2016 (Reggie Gantt, Jacob Oates, Beck Muse, and Dontrez Johnson).

The FPD Athletic Department sincerely thanks the Class of 2016 for their hard work and dedication to the FPD Basketball program throughout the years. We wish you God’s richest blessings in your lives!

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by following the Vikings on Twitter at @FPDVikingSports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fpdathletics.

BOX SCORE:

HANCOCK CENTRAL 71, FPD 64

FPD 16-23-9-16 — 64
HC 17-24-22-8 — 71

FPD: Titus Moore 17, Wesley Wilson 13, Armaun Smith 9, Champ Dawson 8, Henry Middlebrooks 8, Jacob Oates 4, Alex Giron 3, Reggie Gantt 2.

Hancock Central: Alex Brooks 21, Devojia Tucker 15, Phillipe Scott 9, Martravious Smith 9, LaDarius Lundy 8, Dallis Meminger 8, Brandon Sibert 1.

3-pointers: Hancock Central 6 (Brooks 5, Smith 1); FPD 5 (Middlebrooks 2, Moore 2, Giron 1).

Records: Hancock Central 20-1, 12-1 Reg. 7; FPD 14-10, 5-6 Reg. 7.

Next: Stratford at Hancock Central, TBD, Friday; FPD TBD due to Class-A Power Ratings.