Shon Thomaston didn’t know if sophomore De’Mauri Flournoy would be available to play against Pebblebrook High School in the Carrollton Christmas Tournament championship on Criswell Court on Saturday night.
The Carrollton High School girls’ basketball head coach had to until right before tip off to see if Flournoy — who had twisted her ankle in the Lady Trojans’ win over Newnan on Friday — would be able to play through her injury.
He ultimately determined she would be good to go, and the game-time decision proved to be a wise one as Flournoy dropped a program-record 42 points in Carrollton’s 63-62 loss to the Lady Falcons.
“I had to watch her go through warmups to make sure she was going to be OK, and she told me she was going to be alright. I guess she was very fine,” Thomaston said with a smile.
After trailing 58-47 early in the fourth quarter, Flournoy and company strung together a run that pulled them within 61-60 with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
After trading free throws, Carrollton (9-3) found itself with the ball with 8.1 seconds left on the clock as the group gathered for a timeout.
The Lady Trojans inbounded the ball at the top of the arc and allowed the seconds to final seconds to drain away before junior sharpshooter Rachel Herrera fielded the ball in the left corner of the court and put up a three that bounced off the rim to ice Pebblebrook’s victory.
Despite the defeat, Thomaston was proud of the effort his club displayed in the second half of the tournament finale.
“We didn’t play with the same type effort early in the game and got in the hole, so we had to fight to come back. So now I can go in the locker room and it’s a teachable moment to coach them about that if we play with that same effort from the beginning of the ballgame, we may not be in that situation at the end.”
“All my kids kept fighting. All I ask them for any time we play is to give us a chance, and they did that tonight, ” Thomaston said. “I’ve got a really young team, and we’ve got to learn how to win games like this. I felt like right there at the end they gave us a chance, and we came out on the wrong end of it, but we’re going to be a better team just because of the opportunity that we had.”
The first half of Saturday’s contest was a back-and-forth tilt as Pebblebrook led 16-15 lead at the end of the opening quarter and led 39-33 at the half.
Flournoy led the charge for the Lady Trojans through the first two quarters, accounting for 25 of her squad’s 33 points.
But in the third quarter, the Lady Falcons appeared to be pulling away as they caught fire from distance in the third quarter in route to building a 53-37 advantage, but Carrollton continued to storm back before ultimately falling short in the end.
Carrollton will return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 27, when they on Wenonah at the USMC BallIN Prep Invitational at 1 p.m.