02/22/06 — 1-A boys' playoffs - Spring Creek takes 2-OT thriller

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1-A boys' playoffs - Spring Creek takes 2-OT thriller

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 22, 2006 2:27 PM

WARSAW -- The James Kenan men's basketball team has struggled defending its home court this season. Dalreese Bell made sure the trend continued Tuesday evening.

Bell, a Spring Creek senior, bombarded the Tigers with a game-high 41 points in an 81-77, double-overtime victory at Harmon Gymnasium. The Gators (13-14) oppose East Columbus in a second-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A contest Thursday at Kenansville Auditorium. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

James Kenan finished the year 12-15, including a 3-7 home worksheet.

Bell, barely sweating from his career-best output, toted the team uniforms as he exited the locker room. A teammate quickly grabbed the canister that also contained two coaches clipboards, which had stat sheets documenting Bell's phenomenal effort.

The small forward eclipsed his career high of 31 points set in the season opener against Holly Ridge Dixon on Nov. 17. Bell drained a season-best seven 3-pointers, surpassing his total of six against Midway on Nov. 22.

"He had 41?" quipped Gators coach Sonny Kilpatrick. "Good God, o'mighty. I didn't even know that! I love it when Dalreese is hot because he can put the ball in the hole as good as anyone I know of."

Bell connected on 11 field goals and converted 12 of 14 free throws. He amassed 30 second-half points, including 10 in the two overtime periods combined.

"We just continuously let him have open shots," said first-year Tigers coach Gerald Garner. "He's just a heckuva an athlete."

James Kenan blanketed Bell in the opening quarter and limited him to just two free throws. Junior point guard Josh Wright tallied eight points, all on drives to the basket, against the Tigers' man-to-man defense. Senior Cliff Wilson added a 3-pointer off Wright's assist as Spring Creek trailed 15-13 after one quarter.

The Gators began setting screens and Bell started getting more touches on the ball. He hit two field goals in the second quarter and had 11 points by halftime.

"My teammates set good screens for me and I started getting the ball (more)," said Bell. "They started backing up (defensively), so I just shot it."

Bell drilled five 3-pointers in the third and fourth quarters combined. He added four field goals, including a 3-pointer, in the two overtime periods.

"Man, two overtimes just about killed me," said a grinning Bell. "I was tired, but I didn't want to come out of the game."

Spring Creek built a five-point lead late in the third quarter, but the advantage quickly evaporated in the fourth. The Tigers crashed the offensive boards and converted three consecutive possessions in transition. Alex Nickerson's putback on a missed free throw gave Kenan its first lead, 54-53, with four minutes remaining in regulation.

Kennion knocked down a 3-pointer and Derrick Pemberton scored on a wide-open layup to cap a 17-7 run. The Tigers led 59-54 with 2:16 to go.

"They kept scratching back and when they took the lead, that was scary," said Kilpatrick. "That really gave them some momentum and I was afraid my guys would quit. But they didn't.

"They fought through it."

Kenan had trouble defending the boards as well. The Gators snagged the offensive rebound off a miss underneath and Daniel Chewning received the pass in the corner. Chewning drew the foul on a 3-point attempt and missed the shot. But he hit all three free throws to spark a key game-ending run by Spring Creek.

Bell dropped in another 3-pointer, forging a 61-61 tie. After a series of turnovers and missed shots, Wilson drove the lane and drew the foul. He hit the first free throw, but missed the second and Chewning snared the offensive rebound.

Chewning got fouled on his putback attempt and hit his first free throw, tying the game at 63-63. Chewning missed the second charity shot and the Tigers failed to score in the final eight seconds of regulation.

"The kid shoots a brick and we foul him," said Garner. "But what I'm most disappointed in is our lack of boxing out on the free throw line. They got five or six chances right before the first OT to get back in it.

"They just had a little more heart, little more desire and wanted it more than we did."

Agonizing turnovers and missed free throws highlighted the first overtime, which ended tied at 69-69.

Kenan seized the lead on Kennion's traditional three-point play to start the second overtime and Bell answered with a 3-pointer. The teams traded three lead changes before Bell converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 51 seconds to go.

Wright fed Bell with a pass on the baseline and Bell easily drained the jumper with a Tiger defender in his face. He added the free throw, giving the Gators a 79-75 lead.

"I didn't think I was going to make that shot," said Bell.

Kenan pulled within 79-77 and had a chance to tie, but Kennion's 3-pointer clanged off the front of the rim. Bell picked up the loose ball and scored the final basket with 1.6 seconds to go.

Wilson complemented Bell's performance with 18 points, while Wright chipped in 14. Spring Creek hit nine 3-pointers as a team and converted 24 of 39 free throws.

Kennion led three Tigers in double figures with 19 points. Pemberton added 18, while Nickerson provided 13.

2006 N.C. High School

Athletic Association

Class 1-A Sectional No. 4

(at James Kenan HS, Warsaw)

Spring Creek 13 19 15 16 6 12 -- 81

James Kenan 15 14 13 21 6 8 -- 77


Cliff Wilson 3 2 5-10 18, Daniel Chewning 0 0 5-7 5, Maurice Langston 0 0 0-0 0, Dalreese Bell 4 7 12-14 41, David Harris 0 0 0-0 0, Josh Wright 7 0 0-2 14, Desmund Raeford 1 0 2-6 4. TOTALS -- 15 9 24-39 81.


Justin Williams 2 0 1-2 5, Derrick Pemberton 6 1 3-6 18, Jayvon Devane 3 0 1-1 7, Jason Kennion 7 1 2-3 19, Alex Nickerson 6 0 1-2 13, Shermaine Matthews 0 0 3-4 3, Keon Wilson 1 0 1-2 3, Alonzo Washington 3 0 3-5 9. TOTALS -- 28 2 15-25 77.

3-point goals -- S. Creek 9 (Bell 7, Wilson 2), J. Kenan 2 (Pemberton, Kennion). Turnovers -- S. Creek 12, J. Kenan 17. Total fouls -- S. Creek 19, J. Kenan 27. Fouled out -- Raeford, Pemberton, Nickerson, Washington. Technical fouls -- Kennion.