BORDEN — Freshman Tommy Devine led the way as Borden nearly fought back from a double-digit, third-quarter deficit, but the inability to score early and execute late proved the Braves undoing in a 59-50 loss to visiting Shoals on Saturday night.
“You can’t make shots, you can’t win,” Borden coach Doc Nash said.
And yet the Braves were almost able to overcome a long scoring drought and giving up 12 offensive rebounds.
“We were soft on the glass,” Nash said. “As bad as it was, we still had a chance to win.”
Down 41-30 to start the fourth quarter, Borden got a pair of baskets by sophomore Mason Carter and a three-point play by sophomore Ethan Eurton and still trailed by 11 (48-37) with five minutes left in the game.
That’s when Devine and the Borden defense stepped up. A pair of forced turnovers by the defense and two 3-pointers by Devine made it 48-43 with 3:05 to play. Borden had a chance to make it a one-possession game moments later, but couldn’t convert.
At the 1:43 mark, junior Jaden Roberts had a tip-in to make it 50-45. A layup by Carter made it 53-48, then he hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to make it 55-50.
After forcing a Shoals turnover, Borden had one last chance to make it a one possession game, but turned it over instead. Shoals connected on 7 of 8 free-throw attempts in the final minute to ice the win.
A slow start by the Braves put them in a 10-3 deficit midway through the first quarter. Sophomore Sterling Mikel sparked the Braves with a second-chance basket followed by a steal and fast-break layup to make it 10-7 with 2:55 left in the quarter. Moments later, junior Brennan Eurton scored and the Braves were down 12-9 at the 2:10 mark.
Shoals would pull away again and led 16-9 in the final minute. Borden closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer by Carter – his second of the game – and the Braves trailed 16-12 going into the second.
Borden made a move early in the second to make it a one-possession game. A 3-pointer and another field goal by Mikel pulled the Braves to within three (20-17) with 6:50 left in the half.
Carter stepped up after that. His steal led to a basket by Devine that made it a one-point game at the 6:20 mark. Later Carter's two free throws cut it to 23-21. Those, however, were the last points for the Braves in the half. Shoals closed it out on a 7-0 run and led 30-21 at the break.
Borden opened the third quarter with two free throws by Devine, ending a scoring drought that had lasted nearly 6 1/2 minutes. Borden got a fast-break basket by Devine to make it 32-25 at the 5:40 mark, but the Braves were unable to capitalize on that. Shoals responded with a 9-0 run.
Borden responded with a 5-0 run of its own thanks to two free throws and a 3-pointer by Devine that made it 41-30 going into the fourth.
For the game, Devine and Carter scored 17 points each to lead Borden (1-1). Dayson Wright finished with 17 points to pace Shoals (2-0), which placed four players in double figures.
Next up, the Braves open Southern Athletic Conference play at Lanesville at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.