11/23/08 — Gators swamped by South Lenoir

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Gators swamped by South Lenoir

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 23, 2008 12:38 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Taylor Jones is not a psychic.

But he definitely knows his team very well.

On a night when Jones made the premonition that Spring Creek needed more experience "learning how to win," the Gators never fully recovered from a slow start in a 43-39, non-conference loss to South Lenoir.

Spring Creek (1-2 overall) couldn't connect on shots down the stretch.

"I was really proud of our effort tonight. My kids gave me everything they had," said Jones. "We still have a lot of learning to do."

The Blue Devils led 38-32 with two minutes left in regulation. Melvin Deveaux ignited the Gator faithful with back-to-back steals and a high-flying layup.

Deveaux earned a foul shot after a second bucket with 67 seconds to play. The free throw cut the Devils' advantage to 38-37. A basket by Lucas Potter gave the Gators a momentary lead, but Lee Taylor answered with two foul shots for the visitors.

With his team trailing 40-39 and 20 seconds left on the clock, Potter earned a trip to the charity stripe after a tough move under the basket yielded an off-balance shot. He missed both attempts.

"I will take that every time," said Jones. "Lucas is one of our two best foul shooters on this team, and tonight it just looked like he was tired and he didn't finish the shots."

Jones said sporadic, first-half play led to the Gators' loss.

"This game is certainly not one player's fault. We had chances early in the game and we couldn't convert," said Jones. "A few more baskets in the first half and we aren't in that position late."

The Devils built a 23-12 halftime lead behind some hot outside shooting and solid interior defense. Tevin Hamilton paced South Lenoir with 12 points and eight rebounds. R.J. Ellison added ten points in the win.

Potter led the Gator offense with 13 points and six rebounds. Melvin Deveaux and Courtland Jones each chipped in 11 markers respectively.

"I knew that South Lenoir would be well coached coming in," said Jones. "And down the stretch they had a couple of guys on the floor that I felt like would make a play if given the opportunity. That's a tribute to coach (Jimmy) Smith and his staff."

Spring Creek entertains Midway on Tuesday.