Family Christian Academy coach James Holmes predicted his Flames would be in for a dogfight when they took on District 7-C rival Jehovah-Jireh at the Baton Rouge Charter Academy gym Friday, and he wasn’t wrong.
Jehovah-Jireh (20-8, 3-0 in District 7C) came from behind in the final 1:30 to claim a 78-70 win, their first over the Flames in nearly five years.
“I start one eighth-grader and four freshmen,” Jehovah-Jireh coach Dirk Ricks said, “and I have four seniors. The thing I love about my kids is they never quit fighting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a minute and 32 seconds or 1.32 seconds, they don’t quit fighting.”
The eighth-grader is Jaron Davis, who followed a quiet first half with 19 second-half points. One of the freshmen is Trey Johnson, who picked up three fouls in the first quarter, sat for the second quarter and came back to score 16 in the second half.
Family Christian (13-17, 1-1) led by two and three points through the third quarter, thanks mostly to their inside tandem of Quiante Scott and Cameron Crump. Scott had 18 second-half points on his way to a 23-point game, and Crump added 11 to total 22.
“We practiced against that (the FCA inside game), but they worked real hard and got all the 50-50 balls. We just had to dig in and work a little harder.” Ricks said. “I think maybe our pressure finally got to them and wore them down.
Johnson put the Warriors up for good when he made two free throws with 1:32 left for a 69-68 lead. That triggered a 9-2 finish for Jehovah-Jireh and gave them their third straight district win.
Davis followed with a nice reverse layup, and Bryson Johnson’s layup with :36 left pretty much clinched the outcome.
“We had it in our mind at practice that we had lost 13 in a row (to FCA),” Johnson said. “I felt like I was being selfish and let my teammates down when I got that third foul trying to get a steal. I thought we’d win from the beginning of the game. We came out ready to play and we never stopping fighting.”
Davis finished with 25 points, Trey Johnson with 22 and Bryson Johnson with 10.
The two teams were tenacious enough to force 29 turnovers in the first half, 15 for FCA and 14 for the Warriors, before drained a 3-point shot at the buzzer to give Jehovah-Jireh their first lead at 30-28.
Both teams were in the bonus with less than a minute gone in the second quarter, but neither took advantage off its chances from the free-throw line. Family Christian was 7-for-21 in the first half, and 18-for-39 for the game. The Warriors were about the same at 7-for-21 and 19-for-42. Holmes said his team’s struggles at the line cost them the game.
“We’re usually a pretty good free throw shooting team,” he said, “but we gave it to them at the line.”
My ‘bigs’ are the strength of our team, and they got everything we wanted, but we just missed too many free throws.
“It was their homecoming, and this was the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of, but no excuses. It will be interesting when we play again on Feb. 6.”