11/25/09 — Southern Wayne drops opener

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Southern Wayne drops opener

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 25, 2009 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne struggled to find its offensive identity in a season-opening 59-48 loss to Jacksonville on Tuesday night.

With one returning starter from last season, the Saints had trouble corralling their emotions and putting the ball in the basket.

"I thought the effort was there tonight and the guys played hard," said third-year Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens. "We just have to do a better job of putting the ball in the basket and rebounding on the offensive end."

Jacksonville grabbed a 17-11 lead after one quarter thanks to some sloppy play and a pair of transition baskets in the final seconds of the period. Delfawn Worrells delivered the Saints' first highlight with a thrilling two-handed slam.

Cardinal forward Deon Boyce began to assert himself in the second quarter. The broad-shouldered senior collected four rebounds and dropped in eight early points. Southern Wayne withstood the Cardinals' post game and climbed within two points at halftime.

"Their big man is a hand full under the basket," said Stephens. "It seemed like every time that we would tip a ball it would go right to him, or we would lose one off someone's leg and it would end up being a layup on their end."

Boyce continued to pester Saint defenders in the second half as the home team fell victim to the injury bug. Dwight Smith left the game with a leg injury. Minutes later, Justin Artis and Rashadd Hill got tangled up together and both had to leave the game.

The Cardinals capitalized with an 8-0 run that carried over into the early seconds of the fourth quarter. The visitors' lead ballooned to 14 points.

Boyce paced Jacksonville with a double-double -- 23 points, 13 rebounds. Teammate Keegan Johnson added 12 points.

Artis and Worrells each tallied 12 points for the Saints. Hill contributed a double-double -- 10 points, 11 boards.

Southern Wayne (0-1 overall) returns to action Friday in the two-day, four-team Mount Olive College Classic. The Saints face Durham Hillside in game two, while perennial independent schools power Greenfield opposes Fayetteville Westover in the opening game.