No matter how hard you might look, you won’t find the word “quit” in the Austin High boy’s basketball team handbook.
After winning a tough, emotional game against Bob Jones last week, the Black Bears simply picked up where they left off at Joe Jones Gymnasium on Tuesday night, rolling to a 62-57 Class 6A, Area 15 win over Florence.
Austin forward Josh Pearson led the offensive and defensive assault, pumping in a game-high 17 points while pulling down eight rebounds.
“I don’t think we played our best game tonight, but we never slowed down and we never quit against a good basketball team,” Pearson said. “I can tell you for sure, Florence has a good basketball team and this was a tough game to win. Hopefully it will help us out going into practice for the Decatur game Friday. Everybody already knows how big that game’s going to be.”
Also scoring double figures for Austin (1-1, 1-0) were Troy Harris with 13 points and Camron Reedus with 11 points.
Everette Mayes had a double-double performance with 10 points while handing out 10 assists.
Florence jumped out to a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter with the score tied at 20 at the half.
With the score locked at 36 with about one minute remaining in the third period, Malique Elliott hit a pair of free throws, giving the Black Bears a two-point lead. With 5:20 left to play, Pearson made a layup to give the Black Bears a 47-45 advantage. Austin never trailed again.
J.J. Green led Florence (2-2, 0-1) in scoring with 14 points. Darius Smith and Rashawn Smith had 12 points each with Chaunce Watkins finishing with 11 points.
Rashawn Smith led the Falcons in rebounding with nine.
“Once again, we kept working hard with every possession, never quit and found a way to beat a very good Florence team,” said Austin coach Demond Garth. “Not only was this a big win, but it was an area win. Now we have to get ready for Decatur Friday, which will be another area game.”
Austin girls 48, Florence 25
Austin put on a defensive clinic with the win.
The Black Bears led 16-5 at the end of the first quarter and 31-5 at halftime, not allowing any Florence points in the second quarter.
Meagan Hamilton led Austin (4-3, 1-0) with 14 points with Tyra Johnson pitching in 10 points.
“Once we got our momentum going, we played a good game,” Hamilton said. “We executed really well on defense and even held them scoreless in the second quarter. We did what we were supposed to do and now we’ve got to do the same against Decatur Friday.”
Alexis Sherrod led Florence (1-3, 0-1) with seven points.
“Without a doubt, we played a much better defensive game tonight than we have been,” said Austin coach Bruce Hamilton. “We’ll go to Calhoun Friday and we had better be ready for Decatur.”