By Brian Bloom
The FCA Nighthawks used an 11-0 fourth quarter run to wipe out a 56-47 deficit and drop Bartlett 68-65 Friday night.
Coach Anthony Smith’s squad went three minutes without a bucket to start the fourth and could never pull closer to one as FCA repeatedly used Bartlett’s aggressive defense against them. The Nighthawks rolled off a high post offense with back door cuts for uncontested lay-ups as the Panther’s defense slapped at the streaking shooter. FCA converted 11 of 15 fouls shots while Bartlett could only make one trip to the charity stripe.
The loss, a split versus FCA this season, wiped out a career effort by two-guard Eric Waddell. The shifty senior hit for 26 in the loss and was supported by freshman forward Nathan Hoover’s 17.
Friday’s game was one of streaky runs from each squad. FCA went on an 8-0 streak to start the second, breaking open a 19-19 tie at the end of one. Bartlett answered with a 16-5 run of their own to end the second and a 33-32 lead at the half.
Senior Josh Hall book-ended a Desmond Howard bucket to start the third and Waddell offset the first of two Robert Hunt triples with one of his own as Bartlett started the third on an 11-3 run.
FCA’s Logan Thompson started to impact the game in the paint as the 6’5” center traded buckets with Hall and Waddell to close out the third.
As hot as the Panthers were to start the third, they were frigid in the fourth.
An 11-0 FCA run put FCA on top 58-56 before sophomore Eric McGill hit his only field goal of the night to knot it at 58 with 5:00 remaining. Eric Waddell gave Bartlett its last lead of the game seconds later off a front-court steal but FCA hit eight of nine from the free throw line down the stretch to send the Panthers to their 10th loss against four wins this year.
Bartlett will battle Bolton Friday night and face Craigmont on a foreign court Tuesday.
FCA (68) — R.J. Hill 13, Nikeean Holmes 2, Rob Hunt 20, Robby Lagen 8, Logan Thompson 16, A.J. Townsend 3, Davis Watkins 2, Bryant Wilkinson 4.
Bartlett (65) — Demarious Cason 2, Deangelo Hall 14, Nathan Hoover 17, Desmond Howard 2, Eric McGill 4, Eric Waddell 26.