A 16-0 run by Pepperell signified the undoing for the Haralson County High School boys' basketball team on Wednesday evening.
After rallying to take a one-point lead early in the third quarter, things quickly got away from the Rebels en route to a 74-56 setback to the Dragons in the semifinal round of the 42nd Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament.
The Rebels (2-6) fall into an elimination game today at 5 p.m. against rival Bremen for the right to move on to Friday's third-place game.
Haralson County head coach Anthony Angle said it was another instance of his young ballclub learning how to close out games.
"We're going to have to go back and look at the tape, but that's one thing that we talked about is we've got to learn how to finish games. After playing almost three complete quarters, we were down 10 real quick," Angle said. "That's all part of the learning process. We've got to learn why we're getting down and cut those mistakes out."
Pepperell (4-3) featured a roster loaded with upperclassmen, including the senior trio of Dawson Melton, Davis McGinty and Blake Vasser, who combined for 55 points on the night, including a game-high 26 from Melton.
The Rebels, meanwhile, have three seniors who are key contributors in Enoch Rinehart, Dalton King and Nijah Smith, but the rest of the lineup is primarily underclassmen, which serves as one of the factors in learning how to finish games.
"(The seniors) have been with me for my whole three years as an assistant and now this my fourth year. But if you look out there on the floor at the end of games, we're also ending games with a lot of sophomores and freshmen," Angle said. "It's all part of the learning process."
Sophomore Johnathon Housen led the Rebels with 22 points on Wednesday, followed by Rinehart with 12 and King with seven.
Haralson County turns right back around and faces rival Bremen in an elimination game today at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to Friday's third-place game, while the loser has their tournament run end a day early.
Angle said the team isn't concerned about any rivalry aspect of today's matchup, noting that it's just the next game on the docket.
"We don't let the rivalry jump in there, but it's going to be a game where now we have to play them three times this year because they're in our region," Angle said. "So we just talked about we want to worry about (today), not on down the road. We just want to take it one game at a time."