Barons lead GACC after 6th straight win

By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON - A six-game winning streak and a little luck along the way have the Brewton-Parker College Barons basketball team leading the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference standings entering this week's action.

The Barons moved into sole possession of first with their 80-67 win Saturday over Southern Polytechnic State University, NAIA Division I's No. 18 ranked team last week, in a showdown of GACC co-leaders at the Student Activities Center.

The win, which Brewton-Parker sealed with a 32-4 second-half run, followed the Barons' 81-77 home victory over Shorter College on Thursday and a 71-63 win over Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

After pulling into a three-way tie for first with its victory at Georgia Southwestern, Brewton-Parker (16-9 overall, 9-2 GACC after Saturday) claimed sole possession of first Saturday thanks to its six-victory streak combined with three straight conference losses by Faulkner University (Ala.), which had a two-game conference lead and a No.6 national ranking the week before.

"We can't let it stop," said Barons coach Steve Barker, whose team traveled Monday to Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C., and visits Auburn University-Montgomery (Ala.) on Thursday at 9 p.m. AUM (13-7 overall) was one game back, along with Southern Polytech and Faulkner, in the GACC at 8-3 before Monday's games.

"I am proud of the way we have played defense," said Barker, whose squad allowed Southern Poly (17-7, 8-3 after the loss) 51.6 percent shooting accuracy in the first half but just 38.5 percent from the floor in the second half. "People think we are so good offensively, but I think we have been good because we defend so well."

Barker credited the defense for lifting the Barons from a 44-35 deficit early in the second half to a 67-48 lead with the 32-4 run that lasted more than 14 minutes.

Sophomore guard Toms Lokmanis and senior guard Gabe Bubon each had nine points during the run, and Lokmanis finished with game highs of 22 points and 12 points. Bubon followed with 17 points.

Junior guards Jarvis Smith and Ben McGlynn added 13 and 10 points, respectively, while sophomore guard Tre Hill made seven assists and sophomore post Bryan Jett blocked three shots.

Senior forward Prentiss Gates led the Runnin' Hornets with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

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Brewton-Parker College sophomore guard Toms Lokmanis drives toward the basket against Southern Polytechnic State University senior forward Prentiss Gates during the second half of the Barons' 80-67 win Saturday at the Student Activities Center on the Brewton-Parker campus in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Charles Conkin)