01/04/14 — Southern Wayne boys outlast D.H. Conley

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Southern Wayne boys outlast D.H. Conley

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 4, 2014 11:13 PM


DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne wasn't pleased with its performance in the Southern Bank/Mount Olive Pickles Winter Classic at University of Mount Olive last weekend.

With the game on the line Friday night, the Saints looked like a team determined to bounce back.

Southern Wayne executed late in a 48-46 victory over Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference opponent D.H. Conley.

The Saints led 47-41 with fewer than three minutes to play before the Vikings made one last push. Kendrick Greene's 3-pointer and Pat Coffey's offensive putback cut the deficit to 47-46 with 23 seconds left.

Southern Wayne senior guard Tarvis Bradshaw hit one of two free throws to increase the lead to 48-46 with 18 seconds to play.

Greene missed a 3-pointer on Conley's next possession. The Vikings grabbed the offensive rebound but committed a costly turnover that sealed the win for the Saints.

"We made them work on defense and we made a few shots," Southern Wayne head coach Dwight Smith said. "Then we made some poor choices down the stretch and we turned the ball over twice. (Bradshaw) knocked the free throw line and then we got down on the other end and played some defense."

The Saints used strong perimeter defense throughout the second half to force Conley to score in the paint. The Vikings appeared to be hesitant to shoot from the outside and they sank just three jump shots in the final two quarters. Conley scored 13 of its 22 second-half points on either layups or free throws.

Maleek Gorham and Jeremy Cox each finished with 10 points for the Vikings.

"We have to pack it in on them and protect the paint," Smith said. "They have two big kids that can easily finish so we said we were going to put pressure on the ball and make them do something they're not comfortable doing."

Bradshaw scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. Bradshaw responded after being held to 19 points during the two-day Winter Classic at Mount Olive.

"He kind of had a bad tournament last weekend," Smith said. "He said he was going to play a lot better and he came through. We ran some stuff for him and he came through when we definitely needed him."

The Saints (7-5) improved to 2-0 in ECC play and travel to South Central on Tuesday night.

"We talked about what makes a good team is how you handle the next game," Smith said. "We responded very well. We emphasized that this is a conference game and we want to try to win every conference game that we can win."