Silverdale Falls In D-II-A State Final Four

Seahawks Have Great Start Before Falling, 66-59

  • Friday, March 1, 2024
  • John Hunt

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Silverdale Baptist Academy Seahawks had a historical basketball season as they won a school-record 30 games, but it didn’t end the way they had wanted here at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center Friday night.

Facing a really good First Assembly Christian School in the semifinals of the Bluecross Basketball Championships Division II-A state tournament, the Seahawks got off to a great start but couldn’t sustain that early success as they eventually fell 66-59 to the Crusaders.

FACS is now 26-3 and will face Providence Christian in Saturday night’s championship game while the Seahawks conclude an outstanding season with a record of 30-4.

Silverdale coach Slater Belew knew that his team had been behind in big games earlier in the season, only to somehow rally to win. They fell behind two minutes into the second quarter and were never able to recover as the Crusaders put extreme defensive pressure on the Seahawks and made some really big shots along the way as well.

“This is definitely not the position we wanted to be in, but tonight’s game certainly doesn’t take away from what was an incredible and amazing season,” Belew began in his post-game comments.

“We’ve really focused on allowing offensive rebounds in recent weeks, but tonight was just not the best showing by us,” he said after realizing that his team allowed 15 rebounds to FACS on the offensive end as they captured a 31-17 advantage on the boards.

“At the end of the day, we just didn’t get the job done, but it was so cool to see so many Silverdale fans here tonight. If we could have just gotten one more stop or one more bucket, the outcome may have been different, but we’ve been in situations like that before and kept fighting as this team never quits.

“Our shots were going down early, but their defensive pressure got to us and it totally changed the momentum of the game. But I’m proud of the fact that we battled the entire game and I’m just happy that I got the chance to coach these fine young men,” Belew added.

FACS coach D’Marius Wilkes was just happy to see his team overcome a slow start where the Seahawks hit four straight 3s to start the game.

“We came out slow tonight, but we’ve been fighting all year and we got things going when we got in a rhythm defensively,” he began.

“Toughness was the key for us. Rebounding and boxing out were also important, but we just had to stick to our game plan and do what we’ve been doing all year. We can be better, but I didn’t like all of our turnovers late as we had the ball and the lead and just didn’t want to take a quick shot,” he added.

The Seahawks were in fact on fire from long range at the start as they hit five of their first six shots from beyond the arc to build a 17-10 lead. The Crusaders then scored the last three points in the final minute to trail by 17-13 when the first quarter ended.

A drive down the lane by Jacob Walker before a 3 from Antonio McGaughey with 6:34 left in the second gave FACS its first lead of the game at 18-17 before a short jumper from the baseline by Marcellous Jackson extended the lead to 20-17.

That lead only increased as the difference was 32-25 at intermission.

A 3 by Brett Wright with 5:41 left in the third got the Seahawks within three at 35-32, but the lead had gotten just a little bit bigger for the Crusaders as the difference was 47-38 when the third quarter ended.

A 3 by McGaughey gave FACS its biggest lead of the game at 50-40 with 6:55 to play, but Silverdale responded by scoring six straight points – two by Elyjah Richardson and four by Wright – to get within four at 50-46 with 3:56 remaining.

A 3 by Richardson with 40.5 seconds left got Silverdale within five at 62-57, but the Crusaders scored four of the final six points for the seven-point margin of victory.

Martechio Hayes sank 10 of 12 field goal attempts as he finished with 23 points to lead the winners. Walker followed with 15 while Jackson had 13 and McGaughey nine.

Kennedy Okpara scored 19 points to lead Silverdale while Wright finished with 17 in his final game in high school. Richardson was also in double figures with 11.

FACS won the rebound battle, 31-17, as Hayes grabbed eight and Jackson seven. Okpara had seven to lead Silverdale.

FIRST ASSEMBLY CHRISTIAN 13 19 15 19 -- 66

SILVERDALE BAPTIST 17 8 13 21 -- 59

FACS (66) – Shields 3, Marcellous Jackson 13, Martechio Hayes 23, Jacob Walker 15, Carrol 3, McGaughey 9.

SILVERDALE (59) – J. Richardson 7, Kennedy Okpara 19, Brett Wright 17, Holland 4, Elyjah Richardson 11, Hoewischer 1, McGraw.

3-Point Goals: FACS 7 of 16 (Shields, Hayes, Walker, Carrol, McGaughey 3); Silverdale 9 of 20 (J. Richardson 2, Okpara, Wright 3, E. Richardson 3).

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

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