RALEIGH — Word of God fell to Fayetteville Trinity Christian, 85-81, in a closely matched conference game Friday.
The loss came two weeks after the Rams took a 25-point road win against the same Fayetteville Trinity team, leading Word of God coach Quentin Jackson to look for the team to bounce back quickly and eventually make a run to defend its state title during the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A tournament this spring.
“My expectations are for the guys to get focused on our next opponents and keep developing as a team to win games,” Jackson said.
While the Rams do not have the marquee players of recent years, notably the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons featuring now Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, they show promise at an 11-5 record with no seniors on the team.
“We have very good, skilled basketball players who are just as competitive as when John Wall was here,” Jackson said. “(Last year) we had six seniors that are now playing at the collegiate level, so our makeup is different in age but not in concept, style and our approach to the game.”
Jaylen Fornes leads the Rams, averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds per game, followed by Quentin Jackson Jr. with 18 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, and Demetrius Troy with 16 points and 5 assists per game.
The Rams, ranked No. 8 among area teams by The News & Observer, quickly jumped out to a 16-5 lead Friday before ending the quarter down 19-15.
It was Troy who led Word of God in the game, dropping four consecutive long-range 3-pointers to give the trailing Rams a big momentum boost in the second quarter. Fornes added six points, getting many looks at mid-range jump shots off of screens and transition offense.
After halftime the Word of God offense was halted as Troy was heavily double-teamed. The Rams forced shots, leading to turnovers and Fayetteville Trinity taking over the game. The Rams never gained back the lost momentum, committing costly turnovers and ultimately losing by four.
Troy scored 19 if his team-high 28 points in the first half. Jackson Jr. and junior center James Dickey II added 21 and 8 points, respectively.