Gators advance with win over Princeton
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 19, 2004 1:56 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Princeton hasn't fared well against good offensive teams when it's played man-to-man or a straight 2-3 zone this season. A team has either shot well from the perimeter or dominated the boards, converting numerous offensive rebounds into second-chance points.
Hope-ful his Bulldogs could slow down Spring Creek, first-year coach Jeff Davis installed a 1-3-1 zone into the Bulldogs' defensive package this week. The ploy worked well for 21/2 quarters. But once the Gators attacked the basket instead of the zone, another defensive scheme had bitten the dust for Princeton.
Spring Creek's Shane Stevenson moves around Princeton's Josh Thompson during Wednesday's Carolina 1-A Conference tournament game.
Sharp-shooting guard Grey Wilson buried seven 3-pointers and tallied a game-high 27 points as Spring Creek eliminated Princeton 84-55 from the Class 1-A Carolina Conference boys basketball tournament. The Gators, seeded second in the seven-team field, tangle with North Johnston at 8:30 p.m. tonight at Mount Olive College.
"Man to man, we just don't match up with them well," Davis said of the Gators.
Spring Creek (19-6) had trouble stopping Princeton with its own man-to-man defense early. The Bulldogs rolled off the picks well, exhibited good patience offensively and immediately got two scorers -- Karter Yutzy and Adam Williams -- involved in the offense.
Yutzy hit a couple of outside shots and converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Williams, who shot a blistering 75 percent (6 of 8) from the field, tallied three first-quarter buckets. With half the quarter gone, Princeton owned a surprising 13-4 lead.
"We played their ball game," Gators coach Sonny Kilpatrick said. "We let their zone slow us down. We slowed down our offense to attack the zone rather than attacking the basket, which is what we do ... go hard to the basket."
While the 1-3-1 strategy certainly dictated the tempo, another aspect -- offensive rebounding -- came into play. Spring Creek collected numerous second-chance points from Brian Armstrong and Shane Stevenson, and forged a 19-19 tie through one period of action.
Wilson began exploiting the zone in the second quarter, getting several feeds from guard Josh Bishop. Wilson worked off screens and the Bulldogs, at times, failed to drop down and cover the corner shooter. Wilson nailed a trio of 3-pointers and when he missed, Stevenson, Armstrong or Michael Broadie crashed the boards.
The Gators led 42-35 at halftime, but Kilpatrick knew that lead wasn't safe.
Princeton climbed within three points twice. However, Stevenson's 3-pointer off Bishop's assist -- one of 12 on the evening -- gave Spring Creek a 49-41 lead. The teams traded buckets to end the period with the Gators still ahead 58-51.
"I couldn't relax," Kilpatrick said.
Spring Creek, ranked No. 10 in the latest ihigh.com poll, opened the fourth quarter with a 17-2 run. Wilson continued swishing 3-pointers, while Armstrong and Stevenson pounded the boards. Kilpatrick finally leaned back on the bench and let out a sigh of relief. The Gators, a third-year varsity program, punched their ticket to the Carolina Conference semifinals for the third straight season.
"We've got good outside shooting," Kilpatrick said. "We don't have any fancy plays ... just simple plays where we run some picks and screens, and get people open. If you run a zone on us, I've got three guys on the floor who can pop it."
Twelve of the Gators' 34 field goals came from behind the 3-point arc. Six players dished out at least one assist -- 24 total -- on those field goals. Wilson hit 10, while Stevenson (17 points) and Armstrong (14 points) each converted seven.
Spring Creek outscored Princeton 26-4 in the final quarter.
"I thought we played really well for three quarters," Davis said. "I thought we just ran out of gas. We were tired in the fourth quarter."
Yutzy emerged the Bulldogs' top scorer with 24 points.
2004 Class 1-A
(at Spring Creek HS)
Quarterfinal No. 2
Princeton 19 16 16 4 -- 55
Spring Creek 19 23 16 26 -- 84
Brandon Pate 3 0 0-0 6, Bren Hall 0 0 0-0 0, Karter Yutzy 9 1 3-3 24, Addison Gainey 0 0 0-0 0, Diandre Dublin 2 0 0-0 4, Tyler Worley 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Thompson 0 0 3-4 3, Daniel Gerrell 2 0 0-0 4, Adam Williams 6 0 0-0 12. TOTALS -- 23 1 6-7 55.
SPRING CREEK (19-6)
Tavaris James 0 0 2-3 2, Grey Wilson 3 7 0-2 27, Josh Bishop 2 3 0-0 13, Shane Stevenson 6 1 2-2 17, Chris Wright 0 1 0-0 3, Michael Broadie 3 0 0-1 6, Jacob Odom 1 0 0-0 2, Brian Armstrong 7 0 0-0 14. TOTALS -- 22 12 4-8 84.
Three-point baskets -- Spring Creek 12 (G. Wilson 7, Bishop 3, Stevenson, Wright); Princeton 1 (Yutzy). Turnovers -- Spring Creek 11, Princeton 17. Total fouls -- Spring Creek 10, Princeton 7. Fouled out -- none. Technicals -- none.
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