11/26/11 — Saints Thanksgiving Classic -- West Craven upends Southern Wayne

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Saints Thanksgiving Classic -- West Craven upends Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 26, 2011 11:04 PM

DUDLEY -- Move the basketball.

Attack the basket.

Get to the free throw line early.

Seems like a simple strategy, right?

Southern Wayne, instead, settled for the outside shot.

And it paid dearly.

The Saints couldn't connect from the perimeter and despite flashing a competitive spirit during a third-quarter rally, they endured a 65-43 loss to West Craven on day one of the 2011 Saints Thanksgiving Classic.

"It was fool's gold for us because they gave us shots, unfortunately they weren't going in," said Southern Wayne head coach Russell Stephens. "We fell in love with the shot because we were so open. But, if you've got a game plan you've got to stick to it.

"We wanted to match their athleticism and speed with ball movement and ball penetration. We didn't follow that plan tonight.

The Eagles (2-0 overall) opened the game with a 9-2 run that forced Stephens to burn a timeout around the four-minute mark. The Saints continued to struggle from the outside, failed to box out consistently and allowed the visitors to establish an up-tempo, transition game.

West Craven extended its advantage to 22-8 and led 36-19 at halftime.

The Saints employed a full-court defense that turned play ragged and frustrated the Eagles. Stephens' team pulled within 38-28 and 41-31 during the final two minutes of the quarter, but could get no closer.

The Eagles grabbed a 51-34 lead just two minutes into the final period, and cruised to their second victory of the season.

"I commend the guys for the second half," said Stephens. "We wanted to chop, chop, chop (at the deficit). There was some good fight out there, but we got down too much to a good team like that with too much firepower."

Josh Cuthbertson led the Eagles with a double-double -- 21 points, 15 rebounds. Demetres Abrams added 12 points, while Tre'Quan Green contributed 10 points.

Jamiel Price paced the Saints with 21 points. Andrew Matthews and Ronell Outlaw tallied seven and six points, respectively. Jaylen Roberts pulled down 11 rebounds.