Starkville Academy's Brandon Lane (12) takes a shot against Lamar School on Saturday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
It wasn't the type of beginning the Starkville Academy Volunteers wanted to Saturday afternoon's game against Lamar School.
However, the finish was pretty good.
After falling behind their visitors 9-1 early, the Vols shook themselves and rallied for a 52-43 victory at home.
Starkville Academy boys coach Mark Alexander said he could see the slow start coming for his team, especially coming out of the holiday break.
"I knew it was going to be bad before the game even started," Alexander said. "I was hoping it wasn't going to be that bad to be honest. You've got to give Lamar a lot of credit because they came out, hit some shots and played really well. It was a matter of us not being ready to play. I take that responsibility as a coach for not having my team ready to play.
"We've been on break and have only practiced twice in five or six days. We had guys miss even those two or three practices, so we were just totally out of synch and not focused. We're not so talented that we can just show up and play. We play better when we've got that edge and we didn't have that edge today. We were fortunate to come out of here with a win."
All the Vols had to show for the first 3 minutes of play was a single point with a free throw by Caleb Merchant.
After the Raiders went up 9-1, Alexander called a timeout to send a message to his squad.
"I got on them pretty good during that timeout," Alexander said. "I just felt like they needed something. We couldn't hit any shots early."
Starkville Academy fell behind by 10 points at 15-5 with 12.4 seconds left in the first quarter, but scored the last basket to close the gap to 15-7 at the end of the frame.
In the second quarter, the Vols continued to chip away at the lead and managed to get the game tied at 20-20 at the 1:11 mark with a basket by Brandon Sharp.
Lamar School regained the advantage at 22-20, but SA's Caleb Merchant scored to knot the game back up at 22-22 at halftime.
Merchant hit a pair of free throws to open the second half and Brandon Lane got a bucket to give the Vols a 26-22 lead. SA outscored Lamar 16-7 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Vols led 38-29 after the third quarter.
"We played hard, hustled and made shots in the second half," Lane said. "(Alexander) got mad (during the timeout), but we just came out and played hard."
Lane led Starkville Academy with 14 points. It is the third-straight game that Lane has scored in double figures.
"He's really coming on strong for us and that's big because we don't have a lot of size," Alexander said. "He gives us a post presence, which is a good thing."
Raheim Robinson had a double-double for the Vols with 12 points and 11 rebounds to cause Alexander to say, "he played pretty well off the bench." Carnail Minor and Merchant had 10 points each.
Starkville Academy, which improved its record to 8-9, plays at Presbyterian Christian on Friday.
In junior high action, the Vols lost a 31-15 decision. Houston Clark led SA with nine points. The junior high squads host Heritage Academy on Tuesday.
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