The men’s basketball team from Toccoa Falls College traveled to Clearwater, Florida, on February 21 to face Clearwater Christian College in the quarterfinals of the South Region tournament. #4 TFC used intense defense and a high field goal percentage to defeat #5 Clearwater, 78 – 62.
Within the game’s first 6 minutes, the Eagles had forced the tournament hosts into several turnovers and transitioned defense into offensive lay ups. TFC jumped to a 16 – 9 lead at the 14:25 mark, and forced Clearwater to call a timeout to slow the Eagles. The Cougars closed the gap to 18 – 14 before the Eagles would go on a 8 – 0 scoring run for a 26 – 14 lead. TFC would increase their first half lead to as many as 19 points, highlighted by a Carlos Hamlett steal and assist to Freddie Harrell for a lay up as the first half clock expired. Harrell’s lay up gave TFC a 46 – 27 lead at the intermission.
TFC was able to carry their strong first half into the opening minutes of the new half. The Eagles opened the second half on a 13 – 3 run that would extend their lead to 59 – 30. The 29 point difference would be the Eagles largest lead of the night. TFC continued to beat the Cougars to loose balls and built a 69 – 43 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the game. Clearwater would end the game with a 19 – 9 run of their own, but the Cougars were unable to overcome the large deficit. The Eagles advanced to the South Region semifinals with a 78 – 62 win.
Nine different players scored for the Eagles, led by Freddie Harrell’s 17 points. Derek Westfall added 15 points in just 18 minutes of playing time. Carlos Hamlett’s energy in the first half was a spark for the team, and he finished with 12 points. Josh Barrett narrowly missed out on a triple double, finishing with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.
#4 TFC will face #1 Florida Christian College Friday night at 8:00 for a spot in the region championship game. The Eagles are 0 – 2 against the Suns this season, but held a double digit lead over FCC in their last match up before falling 87 – 83 in the final seconds. Also in action on Friday will be the TFC Lady Eagles. #4 Lady Eagles will face #1 Trinity Baptist College at 1:30 in the women’s semifinals. Friday’s games will be streamed online at 1:30 and 8:00, respectively, under the “view live event” tab here.