The St. Pius X boys’ basketball team dropped its GHSA third-round playoff game 63-46 to Americus-Sumter last Wednesday night. The game was the second consecutive sellout for a St. Pius home playoff game, and the school sold out its allotment of tickets in just 40 minutes.
St. Pius entered the game ranked No.1 in the AAAA classification, while Americus-Sumter was ranked second in the MaxPreps computer poll after knocking off the back-to-back defending state champions, Upson-Lee.
Coming into the game, the Golden Lions played the highest rated schedule in AAAA and had won 15 consecutive home games. St. Pius struggled from the beginning of the game and went down 10-0, forcing the team to play from behind the entire game.
The Golden Lions only mustered three points in the first quarter and 13 points by halftime. Joshua Lusane led Americus-Sumter to the victory, posting 21 points and 11 rebounds. Trae Brown contributed 19 points and five assists to the Panthers winning effort, while Niko Broadway continued his successful playoff run for St. Pius with 13 points.
When asked to reflect back on the 2018-19 season, St. Pius Coach Aaron Parr said, “Overall it was a great season. We won the second most games in school history (26) and tied a season-low for losses (4). Our team had some amazing experiences. We played the No.5 team in the country, Mountain Brook, in the championship of the Spartan Turkey Jam. We won the St. Pius X Christmas Classic in overtime against a talented Loyola (MD) team. We beat 7A powers Milton, Marietta, and Newton. We won our 3rd straight region title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.”
The loss ended the high school basketball careers of 10 St. Pius X seniors, who have won a combined 102 games in the past four years- the most in school history.
When asked about the senior class, Parr said, “The seniors have been so much fun to coach. They mean so much to me. We won a lot of games together, played in state championships, sold out Georgia Tech. In terms of success, they have more accolades than anyone in boys’ basketball history. But more importantly, they are great boys. They care about one another, they care about me as a coach. I can’t tell you how many times during practice I would get sidetracked because I would be in the middle of an amazing conversation with one of them. Our relationship is very special. I love those boys.”
The Golden Lions have made the state quarterfinals for four consecutive years, going 2-2 in third round playoff games. The team will graduate all five starters and the majority of the bench unit from this past season.