Fourth quarter dooms Wesleyan in first round

KENNESAW -- Points came at a premium Saturday night in the first round of the Class A state tournament as Wesleyan only scored two points in each of the second and fourth quarters, falling to Mount Paran, 42-33.

The Wolves (18-12), only lost the lead once in the game, but that's the only time the Eagles would need it as they salted away the game, outscoring the Wolves 17-2 in the final quarter.

"We did everything you need to win games except shoot the ball," said Wesleyan head coach Skip Matherly. "We had good looks. We just couldn't put the ball in the hoop."

Wesleyan jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after a 3-pointer by Charles Mack, but Mount Paran fought its way back to a tie. Through the rest of the quarter, the teams went back and fourth with Wesleyan gaining the 14-9 advantage by the end of it.

The second quarter saw a defensive struggle as neither team could put the ball in the hoop. By the end of it, Wesleyan had a 16-14 lead, giving them belief they could steal the playoff road win.

"We defended fairly well," Matherly said. "We didn't give them much."

The Wolves continued to match Mount Paran through the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 15-11 in the quarter to take a 31-25 lead into the fourth.

However, it all ended there as Robert Wilson's 3-pointer gave the Eagles their first lead of the game, 35-33 with 3:15 to go in the game.

And, try as they did to stop the Mount Paran momentum, Wesleyan's failed shots put it into a deeper hole that they couldn't climb out of.

"This team probably overachieved more than any team I've ever coached," Matherly said.

"It just goes to show you that if you can find ways to overachieve, then that will equalize talent, looks or money."

Wesleyan was led by Will Clifton with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Shane Smith had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Blake Jones and Armani Moore each scored 13 points in the win for the Eagles.