by Jason Mehl, Director of Sports Information
Both Toccoa Falls College basketball teams ended their season by beating Piedmont International University (PIU) in the first round of their conference tournaments, then losing to Clearwater Christian College (CCC) in the next round.
TFC hosted the men’s tournament and beat PIU, 74-63, on Feb. 23 after losing two close games against them at the end of the regular season. The Eagles led most of the first half and were up 35-32 at halftime. TFC then held PIU to only seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second half and built a comfortable 53-39 lead and held on to it. TFC was led by freshmen Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall. Barrett barely missed a triple double with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Westfall scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
The next day TFC lost to Clearwater, 73-58. CCC went in front early, but TFC battled back and took a one-point lead late in the first half, before CCC scored again to lead 29-28 at the break. The Eagles were carried by Barrett who scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the first half, and they clawed their way to a 39-35 lead with 14 minutes to play in the second half. But Clearwater called a time-out and made some adjustments and TFC committed a few key turnovers and Clearwater got back in front for good. Head Coach Lance Martin acknowledged that fatigue was a factor in the game, especially since CCC, the #1 seed in the tournament, received a first-round bye. Barrett was the only Eagles in double figures. Westfall scored 9 points and Danny Snyder grabbed 7 rebounds.
The Lady Eagles came from behind to beat PIU’s ladies 70-60 in Winston-Salem on Feb. 24. After a dismal first half of offense when they hit 27% of their shots to PIU’s 50%, TFC was down 39-30 at the half. Head Coach Paul Shiffer said the Lady Eagles’ rebounding kept them in the game. In the second half the shooting percentages nearly switched. TFC shot 47% and PIU shot 18%. The Lady Eagles tied the game with 12 minutes remaining, then pulled ahead and never looked back. Rebecca Weatherbee led TFC in scoring with 22 points. Callie Moore had 14 points. Shiffer singled-out the play of freshmen Maddy Moody and Katie Calloway who each recorded a double-double with points and rebounds Moody with 12 and 12 and Calloway with 11 and 11.
The next day TFC lost to Clearwater, 72-48. The Lady Eagles stayed close throughout the first half until Clearwater’s defense forced some costly turnovers just before halftime and TFC fell behind 41-30. CCC continued to play pressure defense and TFC struggled offensively in the second half, shooting only 25%. The Lady Eagles were also outrebounded for the first time in seven games. Calloway was the only player in double figures with 12 points.