Eagles finally snap streak with win at Pleasant Home
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Twenty-five games and 376 days later the losing streak is mercifully over for the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles basketball team.
Coach Tom Lawler's long wait for his first victory with the program finally ended Tuesday when the Blue Eagles notched a 56-51 win at Pleasant Home.
"It's a big monkey off our back. It means a lot to all of us, but I know it's especially important to our seniors. They didn't want to go through their last season winless," Lawler said.
Prior to Tuesday's win, W.S. Neal had not tasted victory since it beat J.U. Blacksher 62-54 back on January 23, 2003.
Pleasant Home took a 10-8 lead through one quarter, but the Blue Eagles rallied in the second quarter thanks to Marcus Folmar and Jeremy Burch. Folmar had one trey and 11 total points in the frame, while Burch hit two of his four three-pointers. The duo scored 17 of W.S. Neal's 18 points in the second quarter, as W.S. Neal took a 26-23 half-time lead.
Just when the Blue Eagles' offense appeared to be on track, it hit the skids in the third quarter. W.S. Neal hit just two field goals and scored only six points, as Pleasant Home pulled even 32-32 headed into the final period.
Burch and Folmar heated up again in the fourth quarter. Burch hit two more three-pointers and had eight points, while Folmar had two field goals and was a perfect four-for-four from the free throw line. Jonathan Alexander also had a couple of big fourth quarter field goals for W.S. Neal.
That production enabled the Blue Eagles to outscore Pleasant Home 24-19 to post the win.
Folmar fired in 26 points to pace the Blue Eagles, while Burch had 16.
W.S. Neal opens up Class 3A Area 1 Tournament play Friday at T.R. Miller with a 7 p.m. contest against Clarke County. The winner advances to Saturday's 7 p.m. championship game against T.R. Miller.
At Pleasant Home
W.S. Neal 8 18 6 24 – 56
Pleasant Home 10 13 9 19 – 51
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Folmar 7-2-6-26; Burch 2-4-0-16; Freeman 3-0-2-8; Alexander 2-0-0-4; Dexter 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 15-6-8-51)
PLEASANT HOME (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Blount 6-5-0-27; Spivey 1-3-0-11; Little 2-0-2-6; Sanders 1-0-3-5; Carter 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-8-5-51)
W.S. Neal's winning streak came to an end at one game Thursday when the Blue Eagles closed out the regular season with an 81-54 loss at home to the Straughn Tigers.
Straughn (17-11) raced out to a 16-2 lead in the first six minutes and led by as many as 22 points in the first half.
A three-pointer by Cecil Thomas early in the third quarter enabled the Blue Eagles (1-21) to close that gap to just 43-30 before Straughn went on another run.
The Tigers ran that lead up to 19 points by the time the third quarter ended and led by as many as 29 points on two occasions in the final period.
"I felt we had one of our best practices Wednesday coming off the win, but then Straughn got off to the big lead on us early in the game. We had a tough time with their size. They had a couple of kids about 6-5 and we didn't match up very well with them," W.S. Neal coach Tom Lawler said.
Marcus Folmar tallied 17 points to lead the Blue Eagles, while Jeremy Burch hit four three-pointers for 12.
At W.S. Neal
Straughn 19 20 20 22 – 81
W.S. Neal 10 14 16 14 – 54
STRAUGHN (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Armstrong 3-5-0-21; Windham 7-0-4-18; Hattaway 4-0-1-9; Freeney 4-0-0-8; Raben 2-1-0-7; Kinsoul 2-0-1-5; Sexton 1-1-0-5; McGlann 0-1-0-3; Huggins 1-0-0-2; Dartch 1-0-0-2; Carter 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 25-8-7-81)
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Folmar 3-2-5-17; Burch 0-4-0-12; Alexander 4-0-0-8; Freeman 2-0-1-5; Hulley 1-0-2-4; Hester 0-1-0-3; Thomas 0-1-0-3; Chancery 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-8-8-54)