01/30/05 — SW men thump West Carteret

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SW men thump West Carteret

Published in Sports on January 30, 2005 2:01 AM

DUDLEY -- "Their good shooting, coupled with our poor defense and offensive execution added up to that 20 point margin."

That was the equation employed by West Cartaret men's basketball coach Craig McClanahan rationalizing the 77-55 thumping his Patriots took at the hands of Southern Wayne Friday night in Dudley.

The win keeps coach Mike Connelley's Saints in the thick of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference race. Their league record moves to 10-2. West Cartaret falls back to .500 at 6-6.

"They shot lights out," continued McClanahan, referring to Southern Wayne's 11 3-point baskets. "No defense can effectively stop shooting like that. It put us in a hole where we couldn't get out."

The game did not start that way.

Although Derek Garris got half of his six 3-pointers, West Cartaret led 20-17 at the end of the first eight minutes. Southern Wayne had their hands full dealing with John Hester and the Thomas brothers, Johnny and Elijah.

The Patriots never recovered from the start of the second quarter. After a baskets by Garris and Terriel Troublefield, Akeem Royal reeled off three of his four 3-pointers in the quarter extending the lead to 10, at 30-20, at the 2:58 mark. West Cartaret did not score until 2:45. Credit a pesky Saint defense for that.

Not only did Southern Wayne outrebound their taller and more physical guests, 23-19, they forced 17 turnovers, while only committing eight themselves. Their first did not come until late in the quarter.

Garris picked up right where he left off in the third period, canning three more 3s. He finished the night leading all scorers with 28 points.

The final quarter became a foul shooting contest. West Cartaret, which committed only one foul in the first half, was forced to play catch-up. Garris and Austin Hood responded by connecting on 12 of 14 field goals down the stretch.

"We continue to mature," said Connelley. "Our players are getting used to our system. We're not big. So, we've got to be quick and make our shots. We're shooting better now than we have all year."

Connelly was also pleased with the play of his guards.

"When Hood got in foul trouble, I thought Montrel Vick and Alex Brailsford, both sophomores, came in and played great defense."

Southern Wayne will travel to Washington for their next game Tuesday night.

"I tell our players that our conference is just like the ACC," said Connelly. "Come every night to play, or you're going to get beat."

Had the womens' contest gone only three quarters, the Lady Saints might have been in line to make a clean sweep of both games. Coach Sally Comb's club faltered down the stretch, dropping a 52-44 decision.

"We played very well in the first half," said Combs. "In the second, we got out of our game plan."

The game was tied eight times. Southern Wayne was in contention until the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Dionne Dotson's basket reduced the West Cartaret margin to one, 39-38, as the third period was ending. A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Ausha Graham proved to be the knock-out blow.

Although points by Dotson and Shakoria Clark reduced the deficit to two points, and then four, Graham made four of six free throws in the final minute to put the game away.

Graham was West Cartaret's high scorer with 17. Dotson contributed 23.