01/30/11 — Southern Wayne hammers Cleveland, keeps ECC lead

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Southern Wayne hammers Cleveland, keeps ECC lead

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 30, 2011 1:51 AM

DUDLEY -- Tenacious, intense and relentless.

Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference leader Southern Wayne turned in four quarters of textbook defense and routed league newcomer Cleveland 86-44 on Friday night.

The Saints used full-court pressure to create turnovers, hounded ball handlers, crowded passing lanes and got a hand in the face of shooters all night. Southern Wayne induced 25 turnovers and forced the Rams to play at a track-meet like pace.

"I was concerned about our defense after being on the road for the last two games," said Saints' head coach Russell Stephens. "It's always good coming home. Delfawn Worrells, Tony Smith, Khari Faison and Trey Allen were outstanding tonight. I thought we came out and went at them early, and never let up. I felt like that set the tempo."

Southern Wayne began the game with a 14-4 run and led 19-9 after one quarter. The Saints overwhelmed Cleveland with their continuous wave of fresh bodies off the bench. Nine different players scored in the first half for Southern Wayne, which led 50-25 at the half.

Bernard Gross paced the Saints with 16 points. Jamiel Price and Worrells each finished with 11 points. Carlos Council and John Joyner each had 10 points. Southern Wayne shot 7 for 12 from beyond the 3-point line.

"We were rotating five guys in and five out just to make sure our legs were fresh," said Stephens. "We shot the ball fairly well from the floor. We're not a team that's going to have a guy averaging 20 points a game. Everybody chips in and we have can have a different guy be our leading scorer each night.

"It's hard for defenses to stop us when we're coming at them with so many different scorers."

Rams' point guard Julian Reed scored a game-high 20 points.

The Saints (15-3 overall, 7-1 ECC) continue ECC play at Eastern Wayne on Tuesday. The Warriors handed Southern Wayne its lone conference loss on Jan. 4.

"I told our guys this could be a big week for us," said Stephens. "Now we're at the top of the conference, and it's even tougher to stay there. Now, we've got to get prepared to go over to Eastern Wayne. We're focused and we're going to be ready.

"We're going to allow ourselves to go in there and be a little hungry."