The Fort Benning Ballers pulled one game closer to an undefeated regular season Saturday with a 31-23 win over Psalmond Road Team No. 1. The Ballers (7-0) blew through the first five games of the season, winning by double digits in each game, but the last two games have tested their resilience.
Fort Benning coach Anthony Bracken said he tried to humble his players before the game to make sure they are not getting overconfident. “At the beginning of the season we were winning by over 20 points. Now these last two games, they’ve been kind of close. (The players are) settling down and they know each team has the capability of beating us. They realize what they need to do.”
Fort Benning let Psalmond Road get out to an early first quarter lead, but the Ballers quickly regrouped and controlled the game in the second half. Bracken said his team suffered from fatigue, which was a main reason why they let Psalmond Road cut the lead to 25-21 with less than two minutes remaining.
Bracken said the Ballers lacked depth Saturday because he had to keep two key players out of the game due to poor grades.
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“It’s tough when you have minimal manpower,” Bracken said. “The five who were on the court, they were on the court the whole game just about. They were tired. I tried to call as many timeouts as I could.”
Bracken said he was proud of his team’s willingness to finish the game, but was displeased with the amount of turnovers the Ballers made.
“All we had to do was slow it down and play offense and make them play defense, but we kept turning the ball over, which let them get back in the game. Nine times out of 10, you make a turnover, the other team is going to score. Today was horrible, but we pulled through.”
Andre Brown provided a spark offensively for Fort Benning by driving and penetrating into the post. He finished with 12 points. Tremarcus Hackney also scored in double figures with 11 points.
Fort Benning will play its final two games of the regular season Saturday and Monday with the Columbus Youth Basketball playoffs beginning on Feb. 17.