Stallions weather rally, trip Trojans
Fri. February 08, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
SHALLOTTE | The dream season continued for South Columbus' boys basketball.
The Stallions, longtime cellar-dwellers in the Waccamaw Conference, retained a share of the conferece lead with an 81-61 win at West Brunswick on Friday.
It was the fourth consecutive win for South Columbus (13-5, 8-2), which hasn't had a winning boys basketball season since 2007-2008.
"We've got some talented kids," South Columbus coach Fielding Hammond said. "Before, I think we snuck up on some people, and they realized that South Columbus basketball has to be taken seriously."
The Stallions didn't sneak up on West Brunswick (9-9, 6-4); they dominated the Trojans from the outset.
South Columbus used center Pharoah McKever to control the rebounding battle on both ends against smaller West Brunswick. In the first half, South Columbus outrebounded West Brunswick 23-11, including eight offensive boards.
"Really that's our best offense a lot of times," Fields said. "If we can get a good shot up and attack the offensive boards, lots of times that's where we're best."
McKever led the way with 11 first-half rebounds, four off the offensive glass.
With West Brunswick collapsing on McKever, South Columbus shooters feasted on open shots – making eight three-pointers. Guard Leroy Miller finished with 22 points.
"It's the first time we've even scored over 70 points, much less 80," Hammond said. "If you'd have told me we'd give up 61, I wouldn't have felt that good about it."
South Columbus built a 21-point lead at halftime, which reached 27 in the second half. West Brunswick rallied, cutting the deficit to 10 points late in the fourth quarter. South Columbus hit just enough buckets to hold off the charge, despite 25 points from West Brunswick's Gray Cheers.
"We've got great character kids, I knew they wouldn't give up," West Brunswick coach Eric Davis said. "But we just dug ourselves too big a hole to come back."
South Columbus remains tied for first place in the Waccamaw with North Brunswick, who the Stallions play next Friday. Fields said a big, late-season road win was an important stepping stone – especially weathering the West Brunswick rally after McKever fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
"The main thing is that it gives us confidence," Hammond said. "We're still a little shaky. We'd struggled shooting the ball and we now know that if Pharoah gets in foul trouble, we're still OK."
Girls: South Columbus 45
West Brunswick 30
South Columbus used strong guard play and a transition attack to outrun West Brunswick.
The Stallions had two players in double figures, Destiny Dreighton and Quay Newman. Both players took advantage of South Columbus' defensive pressure to force turnovers and create easy buckets as South Columbus built a 13-point halftime lead and never trailed by less than 10 in the second half.
The Stallions neutralized West Brunswick's inside presence with defense from Katie Evans and Dreighton, keeping the Trojan forwards from doing significant damage in the post.
Kianna Pisott led West Brunswick with 11 points.
Powell Latimer: 343-2261