Saints use 22-0 surge to knock off Warriors
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 11, 2009 2:00 AM
DUDLEY -- Six minutes was all it took.
Trailing Eastern Wayne 18-13 early in the third quarter, Southern Wayne erupted for 22 unanswered points and rallied for a 51-34 win in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams Friday evening.
Desmond Raiford's free throw trimmed the Warriors' lead to 16-13 just after halftime. Colton Butler's jumper extended Eastern Wayne's advantage to 18-13, but the visitors wouldn't score the remainder of the third quarter.
Having struggled against Eastern Wayne's 1-3-1 zone defense in the first half, the Saints (11-4 overall, 1-0 ECC) began attacking the zone off the dribble. They also created turnovers and turned defensive rebounds into transition opportunities.
Dwight Smith ignited the 22-0 run with a 3-pointer and Justin Artis' jumper tied the game at 18-18. Artis followed with a 3-pointer with less than five minutes left in the quarter to give Southern Wayne its first lead of the game at 21-18.
Javaris McMillan added a dunk in transition during the outburst and Ramsey Tucker's 3-pointer capped the spurt which put the Warriors down 35-18 after three periods of play.
"We wanted to attack the basket and we went to a different offense," said Saints head coach Russell Stephens. "In the second half, we moved some of our posts guys out and tried to get some ball penetration for them and we were able to get some good outside baskets."
Eastern Wayne (2-10, 0-1) was held scoreless for the better part of six minutes during the third quarter. The Warriors committed six turnovers, lost the rebounding battle 10-4 and failed to make a trip to the free throw line.
"We never got out of the game because we were still playing sharp defense," said Stephens. "Everything they got, they worked for. Anytime you hold a team to two points in the third quarter you're playing some great defense."
Not only were the Warriors outscored 23-2 in the third quarter, they were outscored 39-18 in the second half.
"We got careless with the ball," said Eastern Wayne head coach Marvin Bowman. "They capitalized on our mistakes during that span and then I think we got anxious. When they get the ball, they're out and running. I found out tonight how tough they are to slow down in transition."
Dominique Sadler's jumper cut the margin to 43-32 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Warriors would get no closer. Six consecutive points on two layups from Brandon Anderson and another from Rashard Hill put Eastern Wayne away for good.
Artis' 3-pointer tied the game at 10-10 with three minutes to play in the first half, but a pair of jump shots from Will White and Jeniri Cyrus' layup gave Eastern Wayne a 16-12 lead at halftime.
The Saints had 10 first-half turnovers and appeared passive against the Warriors' zone defense with Butler clogging the middle. Passing lanes were hard to come by for the Saints and shooting jumpers over the lengthy Butler was a challenge.
Southern Wayne was held scoreless for nearly the first five minutes of the first quarter until Raiford's monstrous dunk got the Saints on the board.
Raiford finished with a team-high 12 points and Artis added eight. Cyrus led Eastern Wayne with 12 points and Butler had eight.
Bowman managed to find some positives in his team's ability to hang with one of the ECC's best squads for roughly 2 1/2 quarters.
"We're going to go back and look at some things and work hard," he said. "Every game we try to learn something and expound on something positive. There were some positives."
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