By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
The Armstrong basketball teams went on the road last week as both teams looked to expand their Peach Belt Conference records as the season draws to a close.
On Jan. 19, the teams traveled to Georgia Southwestern and on Jan. 24 the teams traveled to Lander. In Monday’s matchup, it was a career day for Brigitta Barta that led the women to a big win.
The women had won 4 straight games going into their game against the Hurricanes and looked to continue their recent success. The Hurricanes gave the Pirates a run from the start as they opened up a 9-2 lead to start the game. The Pirates responded with a 15-2 run and never looked back. They went into halftime with a 41-30 lead.
Both Shermika Harris and Barta racked up over 20 points apiece en route to their 83-68 victory. Barta scored a career-high 33 points and capped off her double-double day with 13 rebounds. The team did not have the same success when they took on the Bearcats of Lander the following Saturday.
Despite an early 18-12 lead for the Pirates, the Bearcats stormed back late in the first half to give them a 50-35 lead at the half. The Pirates did not let the 15-point deficit deter them from their ultimate goal as they fought back valiantly.
Harris scored nine straight points to make the score 54-44 and Barta finally cut the lead down to a single possession with under a minute left in the game. The Bearcats led 88-86, but were able to sink seven free throws and a last-second three pointer that made the final score 100-87.
This was the first time the Pirates allowed 100 points since their exhibition loss to Duke earlier in the season. After the loss, the Pirates saw their record slip 9-8 with a 7-3 PBC record.
The men did not have as much success as they dropped both of their games over the week of play. Things looked promising for the Pirates in the first half against the Hurricanes as they led 20-13. That lead did not last long as the Hurricanes raced out to their first lead of the game with a 13-2 run. They never gave up that lead.
Emmanuel Tiluscar’s 15 points were not enough as the Pirates were outscored 41-29 in the second half and fell 72-58. It did not help that Pirates hit only 8 of 28 shots in the second half. Saturday’s game against the Bearcats saw a different effort, but with similar results.
The Pirates’ Cole Fountain made two free throws to put the Pirates up 66-63 with just over a minute left in the game. Lander’s Klair Crouch made one of two free throws from the line and was able to steal the rebound away from Trey Suttles and tie the game at 66.
Tiluscar was called for a charge on the ensuing possession and Lander’s JR Washington forced a foul on the baseline to get two shots from the charity stripe. That was all he needed as the Bearcats escaped the stunning game with a 69-66 victory.
The Pirates fell to 5-11 overall and 3-7 in the conference. Both teams returned home on Jan. 28 and will next host Flagler College on Feb. 4.