12/30/08 — Gators swamped by Hillside

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Gators swamped by Hillside

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on December 30, 2008 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Non-conference games give coaches time to see exactly where their team needs to improve before league play begins.

First-year Spring Creek coach Taylor Jones has definitely learned much about his team during the past two months. And the lessons continued Monday evening with a 55-26 loss to Class 4-A Durham Hillside in the inaugural Southern Wayne Saints Christmas Classic.

"I thought the second half was much better," said Jones. "But we got behind so much in the first half, we weren't able to play our game."

The Hornets jumped out to a 9-0 advantage over the first five minutes of the game and led 18-3 after eight minutes. Hillside extended its advantage to 32-9 by halftime.

"We had too many turnovers and we didn't do a good job rebounding the basketball," said Jones. "We have a lot of young guys that are trying to transition to the varsity level, and they are improving, but Durham Hillside played a really good game."

In the second half, offensive leader Melvin Deveaux found his rhythm and the Gators picked up the defensive intensity. Spring Creek outscored Hillside in the fourth period.

"I thought our guys gained a lot of confidence, just knowing that we could play with them if we played the way we are capable of," said Jones. "It's hard to keep telling the guys that 'We're going to be all right', but I really believe that."

Deveaux finished with six points and seven rebounds. Forwards Kenneth Freeman and Adam Haggerty added five points apiece. The trio drew Jones' praise.

"Melvin plays extremely hard every time out, and the forwards are starting to come along," said Jones. "Adam is a freshman with a lot of potential and Kenneth is just a sophomore who has shown what he can do in the weight room and at practice."

Lattrell Royster paced Hillside with a game-high 20 points. Miykael Faulcon added 13 points including three buckets from beyond the 3-point arc. Desmond Sumpter added eight points.

Spring Creek (2-7 overall) faces West Craven at 6 p.m. as the Classic concludes today.

"Our schedule has been pretty tough and that continues with this tournament," said Jones. "I think these games will prepare us for (Carolina) conference play because Durham Hillside and West Craven are so athletic."