01/12/05 — Spring Creek men take control of Carolina 1-A

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Spring Creek men take control of Carolina 1-A

By Neil Fuller
Published in Sports on January 12, 2005 2:01 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- This just in: Josh Bishop is good.

Oh, and the Spring Creek men's basketball team now leads the Class 1-A Carolina Conference standings.

Bishop scored a game-high 25 points and handed out five assists, and Dalrese Bell and Chris Wright combined to score 39 as the Gators handed visiting Ayden-Grifton its first conference loss with a 75-62 decision on Tuesday night.

"We didn't even talk about the chance to take over the conference lead heading into this one," Spring Creek coach Sonny Kilpatrick said. "I don't know that our players even know that they're in first place right now. We just knew we were pretty close to the top."

Perhaps revenge was more of a motivating factor for the Gators (9-4 overall, 4-1 Carolina Conference) than their spot in the standings. Ayden-Grifton swept three games from Spring Creek last season.

"They beat us three straight last year and came in here tonight talking a little smack," Kilpatrick said. "I was a little apprehensive before this game. They've got a great team and great coaches."

Bishop calmed his coach's nerves by hitting five 3-pointers and torching the Chargers (5-9, 3-1) for 16 first-half points.

Bell converted a 3-point play midway through the third quarter to begin a 7-0 run that saw the Gators claim a 49-42 lead.

Spring Creek never trailed again -- despite the bench's failure to produce a single point on the night.

"I've got points on the bench, and I've got people on the bench that can shoot," Kilpatrick said. "When I can, I like to play an 11-man rotation. But with our conference as tough as it is, I can't always do that."

The Spring Creek starting five -- all upperclassmen -- would be good enough.

Bell finished with 21 points, and Wright added 18 to go along with his game-high seven assists. Senior forward Mychael King pulled down 13 rebounds.

"They provide us with outstanding leadership each time they hit the court," Kilpatrick said of his starters.

Center Marquel Baker scored 12 of his team-leading 16 points to help the Chargers claim a 37-35 halftime lead.

But Ayden-Grifton, limited to eight second-half field goals, would fade down the stretch -- as did its lead over the rest of the conference.

This time out, it was the Gators showing the look and swagger of a team in control of the conference.

"I love to win, it's that simple," Kilpatrick said. "Nothing is better than coming out and picking up a win."

Notes: Spring Creek outscored Ayden-Grifton 23-13 in the third quarter. ... King scored eight points. ... Glen Edwards was Ayden-Grifton's second-leading scorer with 15 points, but was held to one second-half field goal. ... Ayden-Grifton had one free-throw attempt in the first half. ... Spring Creek travels to conference foe North Johnston next Tuesday.