Vance Charter men's basketball

Vance Charter men’s basketball player Cyrus Alston (center) powers his way to the basket during his team’s 58-48 victory over Falls Lake Academy on Wednesday evening.

HENDERSON— The Vance Charter men’s basketball team found themselves in a heated battle with Falls Lake Academy through most of their Wednesday evening matchup, but efficient defense and several late shots propelled them to a 58-48 victory.

While head coach Taron Downey said that he believed his team could have been better in many areas, he praised everyone for their hard work and their ability to prevent Falls Lake Academy from generating enough momentum to make a significant challenge at the lead.

“A win is a win,” Downey said. “I thought the guys played hard, and that’s the thing I like with this group. They pay close attention to detail and they are very scrappy, and they showed that tonight. Even though we haven’t been able to hold a lot of practices, they’ve made a ton of strides on the defensive end.”

The strength of Vance Charter’s defense was on display from the very first quarter, as they forced Falls Lake Academy to take several bad shots and held them to just seven points. Vance Charter countered with 15 points of their own, but they suffered a temporary setback when senior Cyrus Alston left the game with an injury.

Falls Lake Academy took advantage of Alston’s absence in the paint by erasing their deficit to just seven points. Although Alston was able to return to the floor, Vance Charter only scored six points in the second quarter, which forced them to regroup during the intermission.

With baskets at a premium, Downey elected to slow down the pace of the game in the second half by having his team put more emphasis on their defense. Vance Charter’s defensive efforts paid off with more accuracy on the perimeter, but some ill-timed turnovers at the end of the third quarter kept Falls Lake Academy within striking distance.

Despite the poor end to the quarter, Vance Charter responded with more strong defensive possessions that enabled them to extend their advantage over Falls Lake Academy once again. Vance Charter successfully withstood full-court pressure from Falls Lake Academy in the final minutes to obtain their second win of the year.

Junior Curt Lassiter was Vance Charter’s top scorer on the evening with 17 points while sophomore Christian Bean added 15 points of his own. Alston was the other double-digit scorer for Vance Charter with 12 points.

Downey attributed Vance Charter’s offensive struggles to inexperience and a lack of practice time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he believes those issues will be ironed out the longer his teammates are able to share the floor with one another.

“We have to execute a little bit better on the offensive end,” Downey said. “We can always be better defensively, but we just have to keep honing in on everything we’ve been doing. You can always improve on everything, so work on everything.”

Vance Charter will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Durham to face Voyager Academy at 6 p.m.