Ellwood Christian's Jalen Furlow (5) goes for a layup during Friday's game against Francis Marion. -- Robert Hudson

Strong second half helps Francis Marion pull away from ECA

Published 11:48pm Friday, January 4, 2013

The Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles stayed within reach early, but ultimately couldn’t hang on against the Francis Marion Rams in a 72-53 home loss on Friday.

Nate Brown, assistant boys basketball coach of Ellwood Christian Academy (3-12), said the Eagles made too many mistakes on the night.

“We made a lot of turnovers and a lot of mental mistakes. We need to get more physical on the boards and get back on transition. Our transition defense didn’t work too good,” Brown said. “There are a lot of things that we need to work on that we’ve been slipping on all season, so we need to tighten up a little bit more. They just played a good, scrappy game and outplayed us.”

Johnny McCalpine, head boys basketball coach of Francis Marion (11-7, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A) said his team played solid defense, but is always looking to improve entering the second half of the season.

“I think we did a pretty good job on our defensive pressure. We made layups, shot free throws pretty good tonight,” McCalpine said. “We still have too many turnovers, but we’re just trying to do like everybody and improve going down the stretch.”

The Eagles trailed 30-17 late in the second quarter when Bennett Harris and Michael Smith scored on back-to-back baskets in the paint to make it a 30-21 game with 1:36 left in the first half.

But Francis Marion’s Arthur Johnson hit a pair of free throws after a technical foul on Ellwood, and Mike Jones added two more points for the Rams to make the score 34-21 with 1:15 left.

The Eagles responded with a 3-pointer by Devonta Cleveland to make it 34-24, but Johnson closed the half with a three of his own to make it 37-24.

The Eagles opened the first half with a little momentum, as Jalen Furlow and Leon Sanders each scored on layups to make it 37-28, but the Eagles never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Francis Marion outscored Ellwood 22-15 in the third to take a 59-39 lead into the final quarter.

Amari Spencer led Ellwood with 22 points, while Furlow added 10 points for the Eagles.

Johnson had 17 points for the Rams, as Jalen Kelly had 14 points and Demetrius Bates added 12 points for Francis Marion.

Ellwood Christian will take the floor again Thursday at Francis Marion with games starting at 5 p.m.


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