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Falcons rough up Demons, 85-38

Posted: December 7, 2011 2:58 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Like a boxer who doesn’t bother to touch gloves to start a fight, A.C. Flora got right down to it and delivered an early knockout punch to host Lugoff-Elgin.

Using a stifling full-court press, the visiting Falcons jumped to a 29-4 first quarter lead on a Tuesday night game in which they were never threatened in rolling to an 85-38 victory over the host Demons.

The loss was the third in as many starts for Derek Belton’s charges which sandwiched the Flora contest between Friday games against rival Camden.

Before the Demons took their first shot from the field, the ACF press had already created havoc as the guests used four steals in the game’s opening 100 seconds to grab an 11-0 lead. After the second of those steals, which led to a Wilfred Roach layin and a 7-0 Falcon lead, Belton called a time out in order to help settle his players down.

L-E would receive layins from William Grant and Shon Belton to make it 15-4, but another wave of turnovers against the press led to a 14-0 Falcon run, capped by a 3-point jumper from junior forward Matthew Howard for a 29-4 lead at the 1:43 mark of an opening stanza after which ACF held a commanding 31-6 advantage.

The Demons tried to beat the full-court, 2-2-1 press by dribbling the ball through the defense. All too often, that ploy failed. It was not until the hosts started passing and cutting against the pressure that they were able to get to their shots.

“The press was a big deal, but it wasn’t just necessarily press-break,” Belton said. “It goes back to our guys’ mental toughness.

“Having the ability to know what you are supposed to be doing in the press-break and being where you are supposed to be makes a big difference. As you saw later in the game, we started settling down and passing the ball. That’s how you break the press, not by dribbling and trying to go up and down the sideline. That’s what they want you to do against the press.”

So dominating was the Falcon defense that the smaller Demons only managed to string back-to-back baskets together on four occasions. And L-E was only able to get one putback on the night against a tall, long, athletic and deep Flora squad.

The first of the consecutive L-E baskets from the field came in the closing 48 seconds of the first half when Bobby Gary’s short jumper was followed by a five-foot teardrop jumper courtesy of Michael Sumpter which closed the half with L-E trailing, 44-17.

During intermission, Belton said he did not make technical adjustments. Instead, he appealed to his players’ sense of pride.

“I didn’t make it so much about adjustments as it was more about attitude,” he said. “You think that you’re a pretty good basketball team when you come out for a game at home. Then, you come out flat and lazy. That’s all about attitude and being excited to come out and play basketball. If you come out with a different attitude, like you’re glad to be here and come out ready to play, then you’ll have different results.”

Any hopes which the Demons harbored of chipping away at the Falcon cushion went by the boards when the guests opened the second half with an 11-0 run. The score stood at 57-19 with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter before A.J. Timmons found the mark from 16 feet away and then, Grant added a pair of foul shots in a 17-second span for the Demons, who were on the short end of a 66-25 score heading into the fourth quarter.

The Demons had their best eight minutes of the night in the closing quarter, getting four points each from Gary and Sumter in a 13-point stanza.

In the end, Belton said his team needs to become more physical and not shy away from contact.

“We’re not physical and that’s the key … the physical part of it,” he said. “We’re long and kind of big, but we’re not physical and that’s the difference in the game. Their guys could handle somebody putting a hand on them while our guys are just not quite strong enough to deal with a hand on the hip.”

Gary, a junior transfer from the Camden Military Academy, led L-E with 10 points. Howard led all scorers with 19 for the Falcons.

Tonight L-E makes the short trip to Camden to take on the 2-0 Bulldogs. CHS won last Friday’s first meeting between the two rivals, 71-57. After a dull performance at home on Tuesday, Belton said he expects a much better effort from his troops tonight inside the Dog Pound.

“They’ll have a big attitude change for Friday night because it’s a big rival and we’ll be playing on the road in Camden,” he said of his Demons. “We need to get away from home so that we can play a different style of basketball and try to get better.”

ACF (85): Matthew Howard 7 3-5 19, Carlton Washington 2 1-2 5, Wilfred Roach 1 8-8 10, Desmond McDaniel 1 0-0 2, Keyon Hilton 6 0-0 12, Raquan Ruff 2 2-2 6, Frank Woods 3 2-2 9, Ron Davis 5 2-2 12, Fredrick Kitt0 3-4 3, Rodney Dove 1 3-4 6, Tyrell Henley 0 1-2 1. Totals: 27 25-34 85

L-E (38): William Grant 2 2-2 6, Shon Belton 2 0-0 4, Bobby Gary 5 0-1 10, Sterling Egleston 2 0-0 5, Michael Sumpter 4 0-0 8, A.J. Timmons 1 0-0 2, Safad Brown 0 0-2 0, Eli Burroughs 1 0-0 3. Totals: 17 2-5 38

Score by quarters: First: ACF, 31-6; Halftime: ACF, 44-17; Third: ACF, 66-25; Three-point goals: ACF 4 (Howard 2, Dove, Woods); L-E 2 (Egleston, Eli Burroughs)

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