Fouls hurt FHS in loss
Four of Freedom's five starters were plagued with foul trouble at some point in the game that forced them to sit, including the backcourt of Nigel Long and Maceo Connor. Even with the sometimes lack of their offensive facilitators, the Patriots never backed down and traded shot for shot with Parkland. But, the Trojans just got the better of them winning 53-50 last Friday night at Parkland on their senior night.
Senior Nyreef Jackson scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, but had to play cautious for most of the second half with four fouls.
Big man, David Williams, was ever really able to make an impact on the game. Williams was called for two quick fouls in the first quarter, and picked up his fourth right at the beginning of the final quarter.
"We played really hard, but being in foul trouble all night long really hurt us," said head coach Joe Stellato. "Nigel Long was out the whole second quarter and the third quarter, and we never play without Nigel. He runs the offense, he runs the show. With him on the bench, it really affects us."
Long came back to score 5 of his 9 points in the fourth, and added two big assists to Derike Chiclana (13 points, 11 rebounds), who was able to easily finish.
A game that saw 12 lead changes, sure enough came down to the final ticks of the clock.
Parkland (12-2, 7-1) point guard Jimmy Hahn had a career-high night, scoring 14 points. His 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, and jumper at the start of the fourth gave the Trojans a 37-34 lead after trailing for a majority of the third.
"He played well, I was really impressed with him," noted Stellato. "He didn't do that in the first game against us because Nigel did a good job guarding him. Our scouting reports, we weren't that worried about him, but man did he come out confident."
Hahn, who scored half of his 14 points in the first quarter, and his teammates remained confident at the free-throw line when the game was on the line in the final frame. The Trojans shot 17 of 20 at the charity stripe to ice the game.
"They went to the foul line a lot," added Stellato. "And they don't miss foul shots. We either have to do a better job keeping them off the foul line, or we have to do a better job defending them."
Freedom (8-6, 4-4) had their chance to tie at the end of the game. After Long hit 1 of 2 at the line, the Patriots trailed by 3. In an obvious fouling situation with 0:10 left, Freedom put on a full-court press that caused the Trojans to turn the ball over.
Jackson had two chances from beyond the arc with just 0:07 to go, but could not convert either attempt.