On Friday, the Chargers took on Eastern Florida State College at the Tallahassee Downtown Capital Classic. Coming off a big win over a ranked team the week before, the team was hoping for a strong showing against another quality opponent. Unfortunately, the Chargers played perhaps their worst overall game of the season in the contest. 22 first-half points from Carl Johnson kept the game within striking distance early. However, poor shooting (35% from the floor, 25% from 3, and 50% from the line) along with 25 turnovers eventually doomed the Chargers. In spite of the strong first half, Johnson would only score 2 points in the 2nd half and no other Charger would score more than 7 points in the game. While they were able to keep it close on the scoreboard until about half-way through the second half, Eastern Florida always seemed to have the game in hand as they went on a late run to cruise to a 75-58 victory.
On Saturday, the Chargers were hoping to rebound against the host school, Tallahassee Community College, but it would not be easy. Coming into the contest, TCC was ranked #7 in the nation, undefeated, and playing on its home court following a blow-out win the night before of another GCAA opponent. As has become all too familiar for the Chargers, in spite of jumping out to a 5-point lead early, they found themselves down 4 halfway through the first half. This deficit would hold through the rest of the half and GHC trailed 28-32 at the break. A quick 3 to start the second half pulled the Chargers within 1. But TCC responded with some timely 3-point shooting to open a 42-57 lead with 10:40 left in the contest. Another late-game collapse appeared imminent as the next 6 minutes saw the Chargers again go cold from the floor and turn the ball over multiple times. With 4:39 remaining, the Chargers trailed 59-78. During a time-out, Head Coach J.J. Merritt told his team to “keep fighting and grinding and let’s see how the chips fall. Win or lose, we can hold our heads high.”
Coming out of a time-out, GHC put a smaller, faster line-up on the floor and things finally clicked for the Chargers. Over the next 30 seconds they hit two quick 3’s following defensive stops. The press finally started to create pressure and two 2-point buckets off turnovers further cut the deficit to 9. The Men continued to apply pressure and force missed shots and turnovers. With 1:13 remaining, they had cut the lead to 3. They tied the game at 81 ten seconds later. TCC hit 1 of 2 FT’s on their next possession following a questionable charge call on Taj Fraley to regain the lead 81-82. With 46 seconds remaining GHC took its first lead since 5-3 in the first half, hitting a 2 to go up 83-82. Two missed shots by TCC as time expired allowed the Chargers to escape with the 1-point victory. Trevin Wade had 21 and Cahiem Brown 20 to pace the Chargers.
GHC’s record on the season stands at 4-4. The Chargers return to the Corral on Tuesday to take on Summer Hill Post Grad. Tip-off is at 7:30PM. The game can be watched online at www.youtube.com/c/GeorgiaHighlandsChargersSportsNetwork.