The Toccoa Falls Eagles competed in three road games in three days over November 14-16. The first stop of the road trip pitted the Eagles against two, NCAA DII foes in the Red Myers Classic played at Erskine College. TFC dropped both of its games in the classic, first to North Greenville University 86-54 then 75-47 to hosts Erskine College. The third and final road game in as many days took TFC to Statesboro for an exhibition game with the Georgia Southern Eagles. Earlier in the week, Georgia Southern fell in overtime to the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, 81-80. In Saturday’s exhibition game, Toccoa Falls lost to Georgia Southern, 104-50.
After falling to North Greenville University on Thursday, the Eagles played hosts Erskine College in the final game of the early season classic.
Trailing the Erskine Fleet by 8 points in the final minutes of the first half, Nathan Palmer hit a three and Donovan Smith hit a jumper to cut the Fleet’s lead to three points at the half. Jon Sauls led TFC with 8 points in the opening period. Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall both added 6 points in the half.
After turning the ball over just four times in the first half, TFC was pressured into 18 second half turnovers, many of which led to easy transition baskets for the hosts. Propelled by full court defense and transition points, Erskine ran away with the game by outscoring TFC 42-17 in the second half for a final 75-47 margin of victory.
In the end, Sauls finished with a team-high 12 points, Devian Clark added 11, and Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall both finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
On Saturday, TFC capped the road trip by facing the Georgia Southern Eagles. GSU dominated the opening minutes of the game and jumped to a double digit lead five minutes after the opening tip. TFC turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and shot just 6-27 from the floor in the first 20 minutes of action. While TFC struggled make its shots, GSU shot 24-35 overall and 11-20 from three point range in the half. Behind the lopsided shooting percentages, TFC trailed 60-16 at the half.
The Eagles were able to gather their wits following the intermission break. Despite the game being out of reach, TFC continued to play aggressively on both ends and upped its shooting percentage from 22% to 44% in the second half. Another area of improvement for the Eagles in the second half was off the glass. In the opening period, TFC was out rebounded 24-8. In the second half, TFC held the rebounding edge, 23-17. TFC ended the game with a 13-9 run over the final four minutes but fell 104-50.
Derek Westfall led TFC with 15 points on 6-13 shooting. Devian Clark shot 5-7 from the floor for 13 points. GSU’s Tre Bussey scored a game high 29 points behind 7-9 shooting from behind the arc. Bussey also led GSU with 9 boards. Jelani Hewitt added 23 for the home Eagles, and Kyled Doyle contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds.
As an exhibition game, the loss at Georgia Southern will not affect TFC’s record. TFC will hit the road again on Monday as the Eagles travel to Presbyterian College for a 7:45 PM exhibition game with TFC’s second NCAA D1 opponent. On Tuesday, TFC will square off with Piedmont College at 8:00 PM in Demorest. The Eagles’ first home game of the season will be on Friday against Piedmont International University at 6:00 PM.
The TFC Lady Eagles hosted region opponent Piedmont International University on November 15. The Lady Eagles had most recently defeated Georgia Northwestern last weekend, 78 – 63 for their first victory of the young season. PIU came to Toccoa with a 1-0 record, a 59-49 victory over Mid-Atlantic Christian University. In the south region match up on Friday, the Lady Eagles had their best shooting night of the season en route to a 58-26 victory over Piedmont International.
TFC jumped to a 36-10 first half lead that was powered by 46% shooting from the floor, including 3-7 from three point range. The Lady Eagles ran away with the game in the second half for a 58-26 victory.
Cassidy Lang led the Lady Eagles with 17 points. Jeanelle Arnold added 13 points, 5 steals, and four assists. Katie Calloway led TFC with 11 rebounds and contributed 9 points in the win.
TFC has now won back to back games and improved its record to 2-2 on the year. The Lady Eagles will travel to nearby Piedmont College (NCAA DIII) on Tuesday for a 6:00 game. The next home game will be on 11/22 at 8:00 PM as TFC welcomes Pensacola Christian College to campus.
Cross Country Men:
The men’s cross country team at TFC participated in the NCCAA championship meet on November 16 in Cedarville, Ohio. The meet featured schools from both division one and division two of the NCCAA. In total, over 60 schools were represented at the meet. Of the 9 schools in TFC’s qualifying classification, TFC finished 8th in the national meet.
Tim Sestak was the first finisher for the Eagles with an 8k time of 31:53. Sestak finished in 24th and finished three minutes behind the race winner, Sutton Rehwaldt of North Central University. Mitchell Thompson (33:41) and Evan Garrett (33:52) finished 38th and 39th, respectively. The national event was Garrett’s final race as TFC’s lone senior. Alex Runyans crossed the line in 34:48, good enough for 43rd position. Andrew Collins (36:35), Dwayne Miller (39:46), and Ian Caudill (39:57) also ran for the Eagles.
TFC’s runners finished with an average time of 34:10, an 8 minute improvement from the beginning of the season.
Cross Country Women:
The women’s cross country team at TFC participated in the NCCAA championship meet on November 16 in Cedarville, Ohio. In the women’s 5k race, 31 teams participated in the event. Of the 6 NCCAA DII teams that participated in the national meet, TFC’s women runners placed third with an average time of 22:56.
Clessie Kendrick finished the national championship meet in 21:02, just three seconds out of a top 10 finish. Jodi Braselton placed 17th with a time of 22:41. Senior Alisha Carlson was TFC’s third finisher. In her final race, Carlson finished 20th overall in 23:09. Christine Wells and Crystal Hankin also ran their final race as TFC seniors and finished with times of 23:39 and 27:58, respectively. Sarah Lockwood (24:07) and Rebekah Stillwell (25:09) also contributed to TFC’s third place finish.
TFC’s average time of 22:56 was its fastest time for a race away from TFC’s campus and was just 8 seconds behind its season best time of 22:48.