Southern Wayne boys stay atop ECC standings
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 17, 2011 11:18 PM
DUDLEY -- All those lost points.
Russell Stephens squirmed with the idea the missed scoring opportunities might trouble his Southern Wayne squad during the second half against Cleveland on Friday evening.
His worries disappeared in the fourth quarter. The Saints reeled off 15 consecutive points in a 21/2-minute stretch, and claimed a 70-45 victory over the pesky Rams in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference action.
Southern extended its win streak to 10 games.
"That first half was real sluggish and we weren't playing with a lot of energy," said Stephens. "We left a lot of opportunities out there for them. They hit some shots early on in the game."
The Saints seized a 12-point lead, only to see the Rams climb to within 22-20 with 1:48 left before halftime. Trey Allen buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 25-20.
Cleveland kept it a two-possession game early in the third quarter. Each time Southern Wayne converted a basket, the deliberate Rams (2-9 overall, 1-2 ECC) answered on the other end.
Quintae Bradshaw's old-fashioned three-point play, Ronnell Outlaw's 3-pointer off a turnover and Andrew Matthews' layup off Outlaw's steal capped a short run that boosted the Saints' advantage to 44-32 with 1:09 left in the third quarter.
"The second half, we got it going. Outlaw hit some big shots, we got out in transition and started making some layups," said Stephens. "Jamiel (Price) did what he always does, and I thought Trey Allen was super for us tonight offensively and defensively."
Allen drained two free throws, stole the inbounds pass and knocked down a 3-pointer to end the quarter. Cleveland pulled to within 51-39 on back-to-back baskets early in the final period, but could get no closer.
Outlaw's 3-pointer off Allen's steal and assist ignited the game-deciding 15-point surge. Outlaw had eight points during that span, while Matthews and Price also hit baskets.
"(The shots) were coming from everywhere," grinned Stephens. "Ronnell hit some big threes, Andrew was outstanding in transition, Jamiel was great in the middle (and) Chris with his defense. That collective group ... everybody was punching.
"We shared the ball absolutely well tonight in transition, which was good to see, too. The second half, we picked up our defense and got stronger as the game went along."
Price and Outlaw concluded the night with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Allen added 12. The Saints had 15 team assists on 24 field goals, and picked Cleveland for 16 steals.
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