Eagles limp out of TRM Tourney still winless after setback to Pace
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Few will probably argue the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles dug themselves a big hole with their 0-6 start prior to the holidays.
Few will probably argue that hole seems more like a bottomless pit after the Blue Eagles' three games at the T.R. Miller Holiday Tournament.
W.S. Neal limped out of the tournament Saturday, as they were crunched by the Pace (Fla.) Patriots 72-32 in the consolation bracket third place game.
In addition to being outscored 218-125 for the three games, the Blue Eagles (0-9) had shooting performances of 29, 19 and 24 percent.
It took a fourth quarter "surge" for W.S. Neal to reach the 24 percent in Saturday's game. Through three quarters, the Blue Eagles hit just six of 39 shots for 15 percent.
Pace (3-8) never looked back after it scored the first 10 points thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Ryan Kellar and two-point field goals by Gary Walters.
The Blue Eagles missed their first 11 shots before an offensive
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rebound basket by Marcus Folmar broke that dry spell.
W.S. Neal seemed to have a litle bit of momentum on its side after a basket by Matt Hulley and a free throw by Folmar narrowed the gap to 14-5.
That momentum did not last long. Pace closed out the period with buckets by Seal and McCrea to knock the lead up to 18-5.
That run reached 10-0 and the lead grew to 24-5 after the Patriots got a pair of buckets by Seal and Kellar to start the second period.
Pace's biggest lead of the first half was its half-time margin of 32-11. W.S. Neal hit just four of 29 shots over the first two quarters for 14 percent.
The Blue Eagles made consecutive shots for the first time in the game late in the third quarter on a three-pointer by Jonathan Alexander and a bucket by Hulley. By the time Hulley hit his shot, Pace's lead had grown to 51-17.
Although it was far too little, too late, Folmar finally got the W.S. Neal offense going in the right direction in the fourth quarter when he connected on three field goals, a pair of three-pointers and two free throws for 14 of his team high 19 points. However, Folmar, Alexander and Hulley were the only Blue Eagles to score in the game.
W.S. Neal will return to regular season play Thursday with a date at McKenzie. That game is a make-up from November 20. The Blue Eagles will travel to Class 3A Area 1 rival Clarke County Friday.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 5 6 6 15 – 32
Pace 18 14 19 21 – 72
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Folmar 5-2-3-19; Alexander 0-3-0-9; Hulley 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 7-5-3-32)
PACE (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Seal 7-0-0-14; McCrea 4-0-2-10; Jones 4-0-1-9; Walters 3-0-2-8; Jiles 1-0-5-7; Wright 2-0-2-6; Kellar 0-2-0-6; Wiley 2-0-0-4; Fricks 1-0-1-3; Skipper 0-1-0-3; Knowlton 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 25-3-13-72)