02/22/05 — Hobbton eliminates Princeton men in opening round

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Hobbton eliminates Princeton men in opening round

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 22, 2005 1:59 PM

NEWTON GROVE - Obvious that Princeton's offense revolved around senior Karter Yutzy, veteran Hobbton men's basketball coach Jeff Byrd devised a defensive scheme to keep his teammates -- mainly stationary shooters -- from dropping perimeter shots.

Byrd expected Yutzy to create his offense off the dribble. The key was to prevent Brandon Pate and Bren Hall from setting their feet, squaring up to the basket and nailing jump shots -- either outside the 3-point arc or near the free throw line.

Princeton never found any rhythm offensively and shot just 28 percent (15 of 54) from the field. Yutzy concluded his prep career with a 20-point outing as the Bulldogs stumbled 62-45 in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs Monday evening.

Hobbton (17-7), the No. 2 seed from the Super Six, travels to Jones Senior on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs finished 17-10.

"We got some open shots," Princeton coach Jeff Davis said. "They took Pate out of the game, but he had some open shots. Bren couldn't hit, either.

"We did shoot a little quickly and that's what they wanted."

While Princeton struggled from the perimeter, Hobbton established its inside game behind Mike Lee. The Wildcats overloaded the right side of the floor offensively and skipped passes through the Bulldog defense back to the left side.

The spacing created passing lanes and caught Princeton's defenders off guard as they failed to provide weak-side help. Lee tallied all 10 of his points in the first half, mostly off assists from JoJuan Faison and Kenyon Stevens.

Yutzy's 3-pointer, off Hall's assist, gave Princeton its last lead at 11-10 early in the second quarter. The Wildcats answered with a 12-2 run, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Stevens.

Hobbton dominated the boards and limited the Bulldogs to one shot on offense for most of the first half. Yutzy had nine points -- all 3-pointers -- at halftime. Princeton shot just 5 of 29 (17.2 percent) from the floor and averaged 0.38 points on 34 total possessions.

"We really needed to hit some shots," Davis said. "They (Hobbton) wanted out three leading scorers not to shoot and we did. We can't win unless those three can score some points.

"Somebody else had to knock some shots down, but they never did. It's not their fault. It's just the way it goes sometimes."

The Wildcats buried three consecutive 3-pointers, including two corner shots by Ross Thornton, early in the third quarter and built a double-digit lead. They increased their advantage to 19 points in the final period until Princeton responded with a 9-0 run.

Dublin and Pate each hit a 3-pointer during the spurt. Yutzy's 3, off Adam Williams' assist, closed the gap to 55-45 with 1:02 to go. Hobbton scored the game's final seven points, including five from the free throw line.

Faison led the Wildcats with 19 points, including 16 in the second half.

"I was proud of the effort," said Davis, whose team averaged 0.61 points on 73 total possessions. "I don't think it was a matter of us not trying tonight, it's just we can't throw it in the ocean. You just can't win if you don't score."