Fort Dale girls, boys knocked from region tourney

Published 4:20 pm Friday, February 5, 2010

Third-seeded Macon-East upset No. 2 seed Fort Dale 48-44 in the AISA Class 3A Region 1 Basketball Tournament at Huntingdon on Thursday.

The Knights scored four points in a second overtime period to win it.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Coach William Johnson. “I thought we played well enough to win, but we made no plays down the stretch to finish it.”

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Johnson said the team had to fight an uphill battle from the beginning. Stuart Matthews, one of the team’s starters, was out with an ankle injury.

“Any time one of your starters is out, it’s tough,” Johnson said.

The Knights went on a six-point run from the beginning, but a successful three-point attempt by the Eagles’ Luke Hutcheson keyed a seven-point run by Fort Dale. At the end of the first period, the Eagles had closed the gap to 14-15.

By the end of the second, Fort Dale led by one, 24-23.

Second half action was equally as tight.

Macon-East closed to within one with a three-pointer, but Wesley Burkett answered with a three-point basket of his own, allowing the Eagles to keep a 32-28 advantage with two minutes left in the third period. Fort Dale led 33-31 as Burkett sank one of two foul shots at the end of the period.

FDA’s Dustin Till connected on one of two foul shots to tie the game at 40-40 at the end of regulation. Neither team was able to take advantage, combining to score just eight points.

Hutcheson had 15 points to lead Fort Dale.

It was a rough day for Fort Dale’s girls team as well.

The third-seeded Lady Eagles fell behind 8-0 early to No. 2 seed Pike Liberal Arts in a 35-18 loss in the second-round of girls Region 1 tournament action.

Johnson called the performance “an overall bad game.”

“This was our fourth game in five days, all on the road,” Johnson said. “We didn’t play very hard or smart.”

Fort Dale beat Hooper on Wednesday 42-33.

Johnson said his girls looked tired.

“This was a team we have played and beat once and lost by a small margin the second time,” Johnson said.

Murphy Middleton had five points to lead Fort Dale.

The Lady Eagles played Glenwood on Friday in the consolation game, while the Eagles played Pike Liberal Arts School. The two teams are playing for seeding position in the Elite Eight tournament, which starts next week.