The stat sheet and the final score told two different stories Tuesday night.
The Apalachee High School boys basketball team had more 3-point baskets and more 2-point baskets in its home battle against Flowery Branch. However, an advantage for the Falcons at the free throw line turned out to be the difference in a 63-60 win for the visitors Tuesday night.
A 16-5 difference at the free throw line resulted in the Wildcats slipping to 13-5 overall and 7-5 in Region 8-AAAAA. The loss was tough for AHS coach Kevin Morris to take as he tried to dissect the game Tuesday night.
“We had our chances to pull away,” Morris said. “Flowery Branch shot the ball well from 3-point range. We have to do a better job of rotating on defense. We can’t leave their shooters open like we did.”
Still, the Wildcats made nine 3-pointers in the contest as compared to seven for the Falcons.
“We have to have a more consistent effort,” Morris said. “We have to do what we need to do consistently.”
Cameron Blakely paced AHS with 13 points, including two 3-pointers in the second half, while teammate Kent Knowles finished with 12 points, all from 3-point range.
The Wildcats led 13-10 after the first quarter, but Flowery Branch would outscore AHS 22-15 during the second and third quarters.
A 3-pointer by Knowles gave the Wildcats a 46-42 lead with a minute left in the third quarter but the Falcons held a 47-46 lead at the end of the quarter. The Wildcats were never able to catch Flowery Branch, getting as close as one point on three occasions in the final minutes.
Even in the final seconds, AHS had a chance, but an attempt to tie the game on a 3-pointer by Jermaine Smith was just off the mark.
The Wildcats will host Winder-Barrow High School Friday at 8:30 p.m. Morris said he didn’t believe it would take much to motivate his players for the game. AHS defeated WBHS 63-52 on Dec. 19.