By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood’s Gators played two teams with a combined record of 12-1 in the two games of the annual “Border Wars” tournament and came up short in both, losing to Deerfield-Windsor on Dec. 28 and to Unity Prep Dec. 29.
The visiting Eagles won the contest on Dec. 28 by a 55-32 margin.
“We played with them for about a quarter and a half but made too many turnovers and they had the height to keep us off the boards,” said Coach Dusty Perdue of the game against the Knights on Dec. 28.
“You look at the second and third quarters and they outscored us 43-21 and that was the difference,” he added. “I knew what we were up against going into the game. They had lost only one game and that was to a large public school. Turnovers started hurting us and we could not stop the bleeding.”
The Gators were also without leading rebounder Bryce Valero, who was ill and could not dress out for the game.
“That was a factor but that wasn’t all; they are just a very good team,” Perdue said after the contest.
Deerfield-Windsor concentrated their defense on the Gators’ leading scorer, Christian Clausell with 6-8 Daniel Ramsey, 6-4 Ronald Bates and 6-2 Ethan Merritt clogging up the middle and cutting him off penetration to the basket.
Clausell finished with only eight points while Micah Herring, who started for Valero, scored a season-high nine points to lead the Gators.
Ramsey, Bates and Merritt were all in double figures with Ramsey leading the way with 24 and Merritt and Bates each scoring 11. In all, 10 players with the Eagles scored in the contest and Perdue commented how their deep bench also helped Deerfield-Windsor.
On Dec. 29, the Gators lost to undefeated Unity Prep, 72-57 in a game that was a lot closer than the final score indicated.
After both teams held slim leads through three quarters, the Gators scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 50-50. After the Rams scored two points to take the lead, Clausell was tagged with his fifth foul and Unity Prep went to the line for a one-if-one.
Chad Dykes was then whistled for a foul and a technical on an offensive rebound and a tie game suddenly became a Ram 10-point lead, 60-50.
“The game started looking like a Recreation League contest with long passes for easy layups.” said Perdue after the contest.
“But the fact of the matter was we did not get back on defense, we got caught watching instead of playing and did not handle the ball well,” he added. “It does not matter who you play, you still have to take care of the basketball.”
Before fouling out with 4:39 to go in the game, Clausell bounced back from his scoring performance on Dec. 28 to get 29 total points. The only other double-figure scorer for Glenwood was Andrew Tillery with 11. Valero played sparingly but was unable to stay on the floor for any length of time.
“Bryce tried to play but he was still under the weather,” Perdue said.
For the Rams, Keon Ranson and Malik McFarland both had 21 points and Chris Hill added 17 as Unity Prep only dressed nine players for the game. They did not score a single three-point basket in the game as most of their points came on drive penetration and fast-break layups.
Glenwood dropped to 8-6 on the year and has a four-game schedule the first week of 2018. They went on the road to meet Macon East on Jan. 3 and return home to play Calvary Christian School on Jan. 5. They will then go back on the road to play Lakeside of Eufaula on Jan. 6 and Southland Academy in Americus on Jan. 7.