Despite losing 10 players off last season’s Class 2A state championship team, the Wesleyan boys were a single shot away from advancing to the second round of the state playoffs as Wes Caver’s desperation three-point attempt as time expired missed and the Wolves fell to Athens Academy, 48-46.
“It hurts right now, but we’ll bounce back from this,” said Wesleyan head coach Skip Matherly.
After a strong 20-win season, Wesleyan was forced to play on the road as the No. 3 seed in Region 7-A after struggling in the region tournament without their leading scorer, Griffin Schamp, who missed much of the tournament with strep throat.
However, Schamp bounced back against Athens Academy to lead the Wolves with 21 points. Caver added 11 for Wesleyan.
Athens Academy was led by junior Jeremy Burgess with 19 points including the final four points for the Spartans. Burgess, also a member of the Georgia Stars, has already received offers from Appalachian State, Western Carolina, and Wofford.
After a three-pointer to end the first quarter, Burgess exploded for 10 points in the second quarter to give the Spartans a 29-24 lead at halftime.
However, Wesleyan switched to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half to try to keep the Spartans out of the lane and Burgess was held to only two points in the third quarter.
“They upped their defense. Every time I got into the lane I got bumped,” said Burgess.
With the game tied at 44 with two minutes remaining, the Wolves and Spartans each missed the front end of a one-and-one. Burgess then took over, giving the Spartans a 46-44 lead and then the lead for good after Caver tied the game at 46 for Wesleyan.
Athens Academy will play the winner of the Darlington and Our Lady of Mercy matchup on Wednesday.
Wiley can be reached at email@example.com.