02/15/12 — Pressure defense bothers Saints

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Pressure defense bothers Saints

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 15, 2012 1:48 PM

Defense is not a one-player act.

Just ask Eastern Wayne.

Eleven different Warriors recorded at least one steal apiece in an 80-25 triumph over Southern Wayne during their opening-round game of the 2012 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference girls' basketball tournament Tuesday evening. Second-seeded Eastern Wayne (13-11 overall) entertains third-seeded Cleveland on Thursday. Tip-off is 7 p.m. and admission is $6.

The Saints concluded the year 1-23 overall.

Eastern Wayne unveiled a new press defense it recently implemented in practice, and the scheme quickly paid off. The Warriors picked the Saints for six steals and coaxed their cross-town rivals into 10 turnovers just 21/2 minutes into the game.

The result was a 16-1 lead.

"We put a new press in, looking to change things up going into the playoffs," said second-year EW head coach Tyrone Wagner, whose team recorded 25 steals. "It looks like a 2-1-2, but it's not. It's still a man press. I thought we played well tonight, but we were disappointed with our play in the second quarter.

"We just relaxed and played lazy."

Sharonne Maultsby scored the Saints' first field goal 51/2 minutes into the opening quarter. Eastern Wayne, by then, had established a double-digit lead that slowly swelled throughout the game.

The Warriors erupted for 32 third-quarter points, which all but determined the overall outcome.

"The bottom line ... we have gotten so much better from the very first game until now," said Southern Wayne head coach Ricky Lofton. "I just don't have shooters. The players play hard, which is all I can ask and they've given me 150 percent the whole season.

"It doesn't show by record, but I'm very satisfied with my group of girls this year."

Tianna Christopher and Najah Muhammed paced the Warriors' offense with 15 points apiece. The backcourt tandem combined for 10 assists, nine steals and four rebounds. Megan Mozingo contributed nine points off the bench, while Tasia Marsh knocked down eight points.

Maultsby and April Lantz tallied seven and five points, respectively, for Southern Wayne.