By Chris McCarthy/Editor
The disappointment in Gadsden State men’s basketball coach Todd Ginn’s voice was evident following his team’s 81-78 loss to Chattahoochee (Ga.) Tech last Monday (Nov. 16) in the Cardinals’ homecoming game.
“We got stagnant coming out of the first half, and I probably waited a little bit too long to go to our trap,” he said. “We got some points off the press in the second half, but they have guys that are big and can also jump and run, and that’s the difference between a Division I athlete and a high Division II athlete.”
Ginn, however, acknowledged that the Cardinals’ brutal non-conference pre-holiday schedule would likely result in a few gut- wrenching defeats such as Monday’s loss.
“I scheduled the toughest teams that we could play before Christmas, and that’s what will get us ready for the conference,” he said. “It’s a hard sell to our guys, but they’re buying in. They have to know what good competition is.
“It’s also a hard pill to swallow as a coach, but it’s like losing a few battles here and there to win the war. As long as we’re getting better, we’ll be just fine.”
Down by 11 points midway through the second half, Gadsden State battled back to take a 78-76 lead with 1:40 remaining. Chris English scored seven straight points to tie the game before Sidney Scales’ steal and resulting lay-up provided the Cardinals with their first advantage since the opening minute of the half.
That late surge set up a frantic final 30 seconds. The Golden Eagles went ahead 79-78 on Al Mosby’s traditional three-point play, then Corey Tobin hit both ends of a one-and-one free throw situation to extend the lead to three points.
The Cardinals had possession following a time-out with 5.7 on the clock but lost the ball out of bounds on an errant pass. But the visitors coughed the ball up with four seconds left, allowing Ginn to draw up a last-second three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
It wasn’t to be, however, as the shot attempt fell short at the buzzer.
English and Scales each scored 18 points, with the former collecting six assists, five steals and four rebounds and the latter coming up with four steals.
Jaylen Hill finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Deshawn Moore contributed 12 points and seven boards. Dee Johnson chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
The lead exchanged hands 10 times in a back-and-forth first 20 minutes. Scales accounted for nine of the last 12 Cardinal points of the first half to help put Gadsden State ahead 35-32 at intermission.
“We were right there at the end with an opportunity to win, and that’s all I can ask for,” said Ginn. “I told our guys after the game to trust me and not pay attention to our record but instead pay attention to if we’re getting better as a team every game. That’s going to be the story for us until conference play starts.”