Saints earn season-opening win
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 13, 2008 1:46 PM
DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne started slow, but came on late and downed county rival Spring Creek 72-45 in season-opening, varsity boys' basketball action Wednesday evening.
Brandon Anderson led the Saints with 16 points and seven rebounds in limited minutes. Javaris McMillan, Rashadd Hill and Khari Faison each scored nine points respectively.
Despite the one-sided outcome, the game had some tense moments in the opening half.
"We knew that (Spring Creek) was going to come in and play us tough, and that they weren't going to lay down," said Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens. "The schools are so close. It's a nice little rivalry for early in the year."
The first quarter exemplified Stephens' concerns. The Gators capitalized on a pair of early turnovers and played tough interior defense as they battled to an 8-8 tie in the opening minutes.
Melvin Deveaux scored eight of his 16 points in the first half as Spring Creek tried desperately to stay within striking distance. Southern Wayne led 27-22 at halftime.
"I thought we did a lot of things well tonight, especially early on," said Gators first-year head coach Taylor Jones. "We hung around, and we played pretty good defense by scrambling around and working to create turnovers."
Southern Wayne quickly seized the second-half momentum with a full-court press that stifled the Gators' offense. Three turnovers led to six consecutive points.
"They came out and showed a press and we got into trouble," said Jones. "Once they got things rolling, their offense made it even tougher on us."
The Saints used an 18-4 run as a springboard to a 34-point eruption. They led 61-31 after three quarters.
Stephens cleared the bench in the fourth quarter.
"I think our biggest strength is our depth," said Stephens. "We don't lose a whole lot talent-wise when we go from our starters to our bench."
The Saints (1-0 overall) spread the ball around in the second half, with 11 different players putting points in the scorebook.
"There isn't a primary scorer on this team and we don't have a consistent 20-point guy," said Stephens. "I told the team that for us to win we would need a lot of guys to score five to ten points."
Spring Creek (0-1) got 13 points from Dontay Boseman to go along with Deveaux's 16. Guard play that drew Jones' praise after the final horn.
"Dontay had some confidence issues with his shot early in practice, but tonight it looked like that wasn't a problem," said Jones. "Put him with Melvin and we felt like our backcourt did a pretty good job."
The Gators will have six days to regroup before traveling to Midway on Nov. 18. Southern Wayne visits Jacksonville on Friday.
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