High School hoops - Chargers roll
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 17, 2007 2:35 PM
If Wayne Country Day boys' basketball coach Mike Ellis could double his allotment of timeouts, he'd gladly exhaust every one of them -- especially when an opposing team makes a run.
Luckily for Ellis and his Chargers, he didn't need too many timeouts during Tuesday's non-conference battle with Ahoskie Ridgecroft. Ellis burned two 30-second breaks, and got his message across both times.
"Don't let it slip away," said Ellis.
The Chargers listened.
Haunted by third-quarter collapses this season, Wayne Country Day answered each Ridgecroft run with ease and romped to an 83-56 victory. The Chargers (7-8) extended their modest win streak to three games and avenged a one-point, buzzer-beating loss to the Rams nearly a month ago.
Ridgecroft exited 11-3 overall.
Wayne Country Day flourished in its transition game and dominated the boards the first 12 minutes of the game. The Chargers built a 20-point advantage and the Rams failed to connect from the outside, which allowed Wayne Country Day to pack its 1-2-2 zone underneath the basket.
Ridgecroft coach Tim Boone attributed the shooting troubles to not having the team's top scorer, Chris Hill, who sustained a season-ending injury last week against conference foe Terra Ceia. Boone will undergo surgery Thursday to repair his broken right hand.
"We don't have the personnel to run the plays off the zone and we had to stay with the basics. We were lost there," said Boone. "We've been so dependent on Chris and you could tell the kids were just lost (on the court), wondering when Chris was going play.
"We've got some ball players, but without him, we're a completely different team."
Evan Jones filled the scoring role late in the second period. The sharpshooting guard buried three consecutive 3-pointers, which eventually stretched the Chargers' defense and created gaps for the guards to penetrate and attack the basket. Ridgecroft trimmed its double-digit deficit to 38-30 by intermission.
"Nobody would 'd' up on number 24 (Jones)," said Ellis. "In the second half, we started with the zone and switched to man, and finally somebody took the challenge on the bench to play against 24, who is a good player."
Jones canned three more 3-pointers, which capped an 11-0 run and pulled the Rams within 56-44.
Ellis burned two 30-second timeouts within a 51-second stretch.
"I was determined in the second half to take as many timeouts as I could, even if I went over the limit," chuckled Ellis. "Runs in the first half don't bother you too much, but runs in the third quarter bother you a lot. After I called a couple of timeouts, I thought they (Ridgecroft) finally cooled off."
Jones, in fact, went cold from the perimeter. The Chargers' David Wilson and Ajay Fowler shut down Jones and held him scoreless the final nine-plus minutes of the game.
Ellis admitted the quick breaks also settled down his team.
Once Wayne Country Day rediscovered its offensive flow, the Rams' defense was no match for the Chargers in transition. Point guard Floronta Wynn converted several open-court layups and Jeff Franklin kept the defensive glass clear.
The Chargers led by as many as 24 points in the final period.
Wynn finished with a double-double -- 32 points and 18 rebounds. Kam Byrd provided 11 points in a reserve role and Kyle Pender added 11 points. Fowler dished out a team-high five assists, while Franklin flirted with a double-double -- seven points and nine rebounds.
Wayne Country Day recorded a whopping 50 rebounds as a team and hit 33 field goals, including six from 3-point range. Every player scored and five Chargers combined for 13 assists.
Jones led four Ridgecroft players in double figures with 18 points. Josh Morris added 12, while Bryan Britton and John Alexander tallied 11 points apiece.
"I ask three things from my players -- play together as a team, play smart and give one hundred percent on every play," said Boone. "As long as you do that, we can be successful and that's with Chris in there.
"We didn't have that tonight."
Meanwhile, the Chargers clicked on all cylinders. Ellis hopes his team can carry that momentum into Friday's game at archrival Greenfield, the reigning N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A state champion.
Ridgecroft 4 26 15 11 -- 56
W. Country Day 18 20 22 23 -- 83
Bryan Britton 3 1 2-4 11, Matt Byrum 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Morris 3 2 0-0 12, Evan Jones 0 6 0-0 18, John Alexander 4 0 3-6 11, Dustin Baker 0 0 0-0 0, Miles Newbern 1 0 0-0 2. TOTALS -- 12 9 5-10 56.
WAYNE COUNTRY DAY (7-8)
Kyle Pender 1 3 0-0 11, Ajay Fowler 2 0 1-2 5, Shadoe Stewart 2 0 0-2 4, David Wilson 2 0 2-2 6, Floronta Wynn 11 1 7-8 32, Jeff Franklin 3 0 1-4 7, Lamar Carpenter 2 1 0-2 7, Kam Byrd 4 1 0-0 11. TOTALS -- 27 6 11-20 83.
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