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COLUMBUS â€“ It wasn't the type of game the Starkville Academy Volunteers needed to have Wednesday afternoon against a top five team in the state.
Even though the Vols kept it close against the highly-talented Washington School Generals for a half, the third quarter let them down in losing a 63-27 decision at the Class AAA, Division 2 Tournament on the campus of Heritage Academy.
Washington stretched a 32-19 halftime advantage by hitting SA with an 11-0 run to open the second half.
The Vols fell behind 51-21 at the end of the third quarter and couldn't recover.
"I tried to call a timeout to try and stop it, but there is only so much you can do," Starkville Academy boys coach Mark Alexander said. "It's been something for us all year with the third quarter. Other teams step it up and we can't match it."
The Generals jumped out to a 23-10 lead after the first quarter and stretched it to 26-12 with 6:28 remaining in the second quarter, but the Vols cut the margin to 28-19 at the 2:04 mark on a free throw by Austin Kinard.
Washington scored the final four points of the first half to take the 32-19 advantage into the intermission.
"I felt pretty good at halftime even though we knew we hadn't played that well," Alexander said. "It wasn't one of our better games. We had been playing well down the stretch for the most part. For whatever reason (Wednesday), we just didn't play well and on top of that, Washington is 21-5 and ranked fifth in the state so they are a good team and can make you look like that. It was a combination of them being really good and us not being on our A game."
Kyle Loman scored nine points to lead SA and was one of five seniors to play their last game.
Alexander thanked the efforts of Loman, Kinard, Zachary Gerhart, Jon Michael Robinson, Zach Thomas and the injured Calvin Young who went to war with him during his first year as coach of the Vols.
"They've been through three coaches in three years," Alexander said. "With the way the season has gone, it would have been easy for them to quit, but I give them a lot of credit for hanging in there. They continued to battle and that says a lot about their character.
"We lose those five senior starters and Calvin. We'll look back on what we've done, evaluate and get those young guys ready to play."