02/10/12 — Effort displeases Stocks

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Effort displeases Stocks

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 10, 2012 1:48 PM

"Oh, we gotta play better than this."

That thought constantly flashed through Jeff Stocks' mind as his uninspired Faith Christian basketball team slipped past Liberty-Durham, 55-46, in non-region action Thursday evening.

And with N.C. Christian Schools Association Coastal 2-A region power Trinity-Greenville coming to town Monday, Stocks certainly hopes the closer-than-should-have-been victory serves as a wake-up call to his team. Trinity manhandled the Conquerors in their previous meeting.

"I was excited about that game, now I'm worried," said Stocks.

Aaron Hill poured in a game-high 24 points and Wes Caudle contributed 19 for Faith Christian, which let Liberty linger around longer than it should have on the night. Careless passes in transition, missed assignments on defense and poor positioning on rebounds frustrated Stocks.

The Conquerors committed 14 turnovers.

"We have the tendency to play to (our) competition (level) and I thought the last two weeks we had overcome that," said Stocks. "(Tonight) we came out flat and I don't know why. The desire, hustle, boxing out, being smart ... just the small stuff (wasn't there)."

The Conquerors (16-3 overall) held a 29-22 advantage at halftime and endured a nearly-disastrous scoring drought for half of the third period. The Patriots (12-3) climbed to within 32-30 and instead of burning a timeout, Stocks opted to let his team play through the adversity.

Hill's steal at midcourt and assist on Brandon Jones' layup ignited a 15-2 run, and stirred up what had been a lethargic Conquerors crowd. Building off their fans' energy, Hill buried a 3-pointer and came up with another basket in transition to make it 39-32.

Caudle's soft turnaround jumper off Hill's assist continued the offensive outburst which ended on Hill's layup off the Patriots' sixth turnover of the second half. Liberty had 21 turnovers for the game.

Faith claimed its biggest lead, 53-39, in the final period.

"I told them tonight that you won on the scoreboard and that's the only place," said Stocks. "You got outhustled, didn't play smart basketball."