Barons get two victories on road

MOUNT VERNON -- Two road victories last week had the Brewton-Parker College men's basketball team in a three-way tie for second place in the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference standings.

The Barons returned from their second trip to the northern part of the state in three days with an 83-63 win over North Georgia College and State University, spoiling the Saints' homecoming in the process.

That win followed a 78-74 victory over Reinhardt College on Thursday in a game played at a neutral site in Marietta.

"We still have a lot of basketball to be played, but we know our identity now and people are understanding their roles a lot better," said Barons coach Steve Barker, whose team (12-9 overall) improved to 4-2 in GACC play with the wins.

In Saturday's victory, Brewton-Parker shot 48.4 percent from the floor while holding North Georgia (7-13, 0-6) to 30.5 percent shooting and led 37-26 at halftime.

"In the second half, we went on a tirade," Barker said, with the Barons lead up to 30 midway through the half. "We had all but one player score. We are shooting the ball really well."

The Barons hit 9 of 21 shots from 3-point range, with junior guard Jarvis Smith hitting 5 of 7 treys for his 15 points. Senior guard Gabe Bubon had three 3-pointers and was 7-for-15 in scoring a team-high 17 points.

Sophomore guard Toms Lokmanis was 6-for-9 from the floor in scoring 12 points and had a team-high nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Tre Hill made eight assists.

Junior forward Kendrick Johnson led the Saints' three double-figure scorers with a game-high 22 points.

The Barons played Reinhardt at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. Reinhardt is playing its home games this season at Cherokee County High School in Canton while the Eagles' gymnasium is undergoing renovations.

However, Cherokee County schools were closed following the ice storm that hit north Georgia last Wednesday night. While the women's coaches agreed to trade their home sites and have their game Thursday night in Mount Vernon, Eagles coach Joe Kennamer wanted to reschedule the game toward season's end.

With logistical problems arising, Barker asked Reinhardt officials to either join the women's team and travel to Mount Vernon or find a neutral site. Southern Polytech's gym, where Brewton-Parker lost a double-overtime game on Jan. 11, proved to be available and the teams played instead at the neutral site.

"I think we were comfortable knowing we had played well at Southern Tech, and we were able to get relaxed while watching the women's game," said Barker, whose team committed just 11 turnovers.

The Barons took a 38-34 halftime lead and rode five players scoring in double figures to victory by the same margin.

Barker said two shots, one by Lokmanis with about 1:30 left and another by senior guard Derrick Hairston with under one minute remaining, proved key in fending off the Eagles, who tied the game several times late in the second half but never could take the lead.

"We were able to sustain our defensive pressure," Barker said. "We did a good job on the perimeter. I told the guys that this was a statement game, to perform well on the road."

Bubon offset an otherwise off night from the 3-point line for both teams (a combined 25 percent) by hitting 3 of 7 treys on his way to scoring a team-high 17 points.

"Gabe is becoming a big leader, not just because of his scoring but because of his maturity," Barker said of Bubon.

Lokmanis followed with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting, and sophomore post Bryan Jett also had 14 points with six perfect free throws along with a game-high nine rebounds.

Hill and Smith added 10 points apiece for the Barons, with Hill making a team-leading six assists.

Reinhardt (8-13, 2-5 after the weekend) got 29 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Gathan White, who was one of three Eagles in double-figure scoring.

The Barons had just one game this week, Monday night at home against Emmanuel College. They conclude their first rotation through the GACC schedule on Monday, Feb. 3, with an 8 p.m. game at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

Brewton-Parker's next home game is Feb. 6 against Shorter College.