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Bulldogs exorcise Demons, 71-57

Posted: December 3, 2011 1:12 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Once forcing Lugoff-Elgin to abandon its zone scheme to go to a man-to-man defense, Camden went for the kill.

Finding open shots in and around the basket, after having opened the night with the hot hand from long-range, the visiting Bulldogs opened their season with a 71-57 victory over their cross-river rivals Friday night inside the Demons Den.

The loss dropped the Demons to 0-2 after having lost to A.C. Flora on Tuesday night.

L-E head coach Derek Belton said that when CHS forced his team’s defensive hand, he felt the game beginning to slip away.

"It hurt us big-time," he said about switching to a man-to-man set in the second quarter and again in the final stanza.

"We talk about it with the guys all the time, it’s like they don’t put in the effort to play man-to-man; it’s a mental thing with our kids and it’s always been like that. We’ve never been good at man-to-man … and we try. We put in the drills and it’s like they don’t pick up the concept of man-to-man defense."

Once L-E came out of its zone, CHS coach Ron McKie said things started opening up for his offense, especially inside the paint area.

"I feel confident when a team plays us man-to-man," he said. "We have some good ball handlers. Darelle (Smith) does a good job in breaking a defense down off the dribble. We also had a nice surprise in (6-foot-4 sophomore) Delton Bradford being able to come back off his (hand) injury. He finishes well under the basket which is what we look for, besides our regular man offense."

Camden used runs in each of the opening three quarters to keep the Demons at bay. In the first, the Dogs used an 11-0 rally to rebound from an 8-6 deficit. Trailing, 18-17 heading into the second eight minutes, the guests scored a dozen unanswered points to break out to a 28-25 lead.

The killer came in the third stanza when after the hosts closed the gap to 42-37 on Sterling Egleston’s pull-up jumper at the 2:49 mark, Camden responded with seven straight points to build a 12-point cushion which was never seriously challenged from that point.

While L-E went to a man-to-man set, McKie and company unveiled a diamond and one scheme in the second half with the chaser shadowing Demons’ guard Bobby Gary, who scored 13 of his game-high 20 points in the first 16 minutes. The junior who did not make another basket from the field until there were less than four minutes left in the contest.

"L-E shot the ball well in the first half, especially from beyond the 3-point line so we had to change defenses because they weren’t looking to get the ball inside," McKie said. "They were playing five on the perimeter and passing and cutting. We talked about how to defend that and take away their shot and when they put the ball on the floor to squeeze the gaps and take charges."

Camden, which struggled with its outside shooting a year ago, showed little carryover affect in that area to begin a new campaign.

L-E used treys from Travis Wilson and Gary to jump to an 8-6 lead. CHS countered with 3-point jumpers from Josh Council along with a 3-ball and a layin from Jamari Ferguson in the 11-0 flurry which gave the guests a 17-18 lead.

Unfazed, the hosts used trifectas from Gary and with one from Egleston along with a short jumper from Egleston to cap a 10-0 run to give L-E an 18-17 lead heading into a second quarter which started with Ferguson burying a three to touch off a 9-1 Bulldog surge.

McKie said, shooting-wise, he could not have hoped for a better start on the road.

"We came out and shot the ball real well in the first quarter and that got us off to a good start," he said. "Last year, we struggled from the field. When you get off to a slow start, especially on the road, it’s tough to catch up. And with this being the first game, I’m glad that Josh (Council) and Jamari (Ferguson) came out and hit those early threes. It really helped us."

L-E refused to go away and when Gary grabbed a loose ball under the basket and banked it home, the Demons were back within one at 26-25 with 3:56 to play before the break.

Camden then received a layin, a trey and a 17-foot jumper from sophomore Martrell Johnson to pull away to a 38-25 lead, which stood at 38-27 at halftime.

"He came off the bench and hit some big shots. He said that he never played before so, we I wanted to throw him out there and see what he could do," McKie said of Johnson’s hot start in coming off the bench.

"I want to try and throw all these kids out here in these non-region games to see how they play. A lot of our guys came off the bench and did a good job for us tonight and Martrell was one of them."

In a chess match at halftime, McKie decided to come out in a diamond and one defense while Belton, with his team needing a strong start to the half, went with a quicker lineup.

L-E narrowed things to 38-33 when Stephan Hunter went outside the arc for baskets on successive possessions. A Wilson layin and Egleston’s jumper kept the hosts within five before a traditional 3-point play from Council helped ignite a 7-0 run --- aided by a pair of turnovers --- which gave Camden a 49-27 lead with 2:20 left in the third. Short jumpers from L-E’s William Grant and A.J. Timmons closed the stanza with the hosts trailing, 49-41.

"We came out with a faster lineup and thought that we could get up and down the court a little better," Belton said of the third quarter change. "We started out pretty well, but then, we had a few mental mistakes and committed a couple turnovers. That’s when they took the lead and never seemed to give up."

The Dogs opened the fourth quarter in a delay set which led to L-E’s having to come out and play man-to-man. A Ferguson stickback, for two of his team-best 18 points, put CHS on top by 10 with 6:30 remaining in the contest. The Demons would not be able to close to within single digits the rest of the way.

"I thought we rushed some shots and started going crazy and threw up shots which didn’t have a chance of going down," McKie said of his team’s impatience, at times, in running the delay set. "We just wanted them to settle down and run the offense and make them play defense."

Belton said he told his players to attack the basket after CHS committed just one foul to L-E’s seven to open the second half. And while the hosts did find their way inside, they were unable to sustain anything as CHS seemed to answer each L-E spurt.

While controlling the clock and game in the latter stages, the Bulldogs also were able to control the boards as L-E’s final two baskets of the night were its only second-chance buckets of the game.

"We didn’t rebound at all. Backside rebounding and rebounds off the front of the rims, it looked like we were lost. We were in no-man’s land," Belton said.

"We worked on rebounding for two days after we lost to A.C. Flora because they beat us in the rebounding department. We thought we practiced well with our rebounding. Obviously, we need to go back and start over."

 

CHS (71):

 

L-E (57):

 

Score by quarters:

First: L-E, 18-17; Halftime: CHS, 38-27; Third: CHS, 49-41. Three-point goals: CHS - 5: (Council 2, Ferguson 2, Johnson); L-E- 7: (Gary 3, Hunter 2, Wilson, Egleston)
Travis Wilson 2 0-2 5, Michael Sumpter 1 0-0 2, Bobby Gary 6 5-5 20, Sterling Egleston 4 1-2 10, A.J. Timmons 4 0-1 8, Oran Smith 0 2-2 2, Stephan Hunter 3 0-0 8, William Grant 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 8-12 57.
Josh Council 5 1-1 14, Fidel Wise 2 0-0 4, Darelle Smith 5 2-4 12, Jamari Ferguson 7 2-2 18, Hamid Mathis 2 1-5 5, Jamal Jackson 1 0-0 2, Martrell Johnson 3 0-0 7, Delton Bradford 4 1-2 9. Totals: 29 7-14 71

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