APEX — Paul R. Brown got buried early in a 14-point hole and could dig its way out Tuesday, falling in the first round of the CAASC state playoffs to Thales Academy, 62-54.
The Bulldogs finish their season at 6-7.
Paul R. Brown opened the game with a 4-2 spurt, but then saw the Titans go on a 16-0 run to open an 18-4 lead before the Dawgs closed the first quarter with two baskets to cut the deficit to 18-8.
“We started the game in a zone, but couldn’t stop drives to the basket, so we switched to a man defense,” Bulldogs coach Ken Cross said. “That started to help a little.”
Paul R. Brown got a shot in the arm in the second stanza when Marquese Robinson came off the bench and buried a trio of three-pointers, but Thales still managed to outscore the Bulldogs 19-18 and took a 37-26 lead into halftime.
With a few adjustments during the intermission, Paul R. Brown came out and outscored the Titans by a 13-8 margin to whittle the deficit down to 45-39.
The gap got closed to five midway through the fourth quarter, but free throws sealed the win for Thales.
“We had 24 foul called against us and only three against them — the entire game,” Cross said. “I’m not saying we weren’t fouling — we had to. But I think they were too.”
Thales Academy was 20-of-29 from the line, while Paul R. Brown was just 1-for-1 — and that free throw came in the fourth frame.
“We played hard, but we didn’t play defense very well,” Cross said. “We gave up too many layups, so it was another disappointing loss.”
Zarian Brown led the Bulldogs with 13 points, while T.J. Smith scored 11. Marvin Lacewell and Robinson each scored nine points. Paul R. Brown hit seven three-pointers in the game.
W. Curtr Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.