12/08/10 — Eastern Wayne controls the boards

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Eastern Wayne controls the boards

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 8, 2010 1:47 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The junk defenses worked.

Spring Creek forgot to swipe the boards, though.

Eastern Wayne averaged four-plus offensive rebounds a quarter and escaped with a 63-58, non-conference victory Tuesday evening at "The Swamp."

The Gators used box-and-one and triangle-and-two defenses to handcuff the Warriors' backcourt tandem of Lee Atkinson and Lamar Best. Atkinson, one of the area's top scorers, managed a season-low eight points. Best also scored eight points as Eastern Wayne (3-1 overall) extended its modest win streak to three games.

"They had the box-and-one on us and that's something we really hadn't prepared for (this seaason)," said Warriors head coach Marvin Bowman. "We were able to do some things to offset it and stay in the game. I thought Brandon Williams played an excellent game, did some things we asked him to do ... made some baskets."

So did Josiah Davis.

Saddled with foul trouble, the Eastern Wayne center collected 21 points and snagged eight rebounds. Nearly half of Davis' offensive output came on second-chance opportunities -- either putbacks or free throws after getting fouled on shot attempts.

"All year we have struggled with rebounding, it's been our Achilles' heel so far," said Spring Creek head coach Taylor Jones. "We've got some tough kids who can rebound. Right now, I really think, when you're trying to figure out your defensive sets, sometimes we get out of position for rebounding.

"It is as simple as boxing out and laying a body on somebody, sustaining that block out until we get the rebound. Sometimes when you're thinking too much, you don't do the simple things."

Eastern Wayne built a 37-27 lead in the third quarter, only to see Spring Creek (1-4) rally for a 37-37 tie. Deshar Thomas (17 points) buried consecutive 3-pointers off assists from Adam Haggerty and Cody Alphin. Haggerty capped the 10-0 run with a coast-to-coast layup after snagging a defensive rebound.

Haggerty just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine boards.

The teams traded buckets before Atkinson buried a 3-pointer off Best's assist as time expired in the third. The Warriors led 42-39.

Spring Creek pulled within 44-43 early in the final quarter on Haggerty's turnaround bank shot in the lane and A.J. Gills' offensive putback. Gills tied Thomas for team-high scoring honors.

Eastern Wayne kept either a one- or two-possession advantage throughout the quarter. The Warriors forced turnovers in their fullcourt defense and swiped offensive rebounds, but failed to convert several baskets.

Williams' offensive putback and an intentional foul on Best helped build Eastern Wayne's lead to 61-55 with 40.7 seconds to go in regulation. Williams finished with nine points and five rebounds.

Haggerty's 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to 61-58, but the Gators would get no closer.