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Braves dial long distance to get past Dogs, 62-49

Posted: December 30, 2011 12:12 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2012 5:00 a.m.

So much for scouting reports.
As he prepared his team for Thursday’s game with Cheraw in the first round of the Ahlstrom Nonwovens/MPCU Carolina Classic boys’ basketball tournament at North Central, Camden High head coach Ron McKie had his team working on slowing down the transition game which, supposedly, got the Braves’ offense into gear.
Was that ever the wrong way to go.
Using more 3-point baskets (11) than twos (10), Cheraw improved to 7-0 with a 62-49 win over a Bulldog squad which fell to 3-2 and entered Friday’s third-place game with McBee having lost back-to-back games.
Either the information which came McKie’s way on Cheraw was flawed or, the Braves changed things up on the offensive end in a hurry. Either way, the team the Bulldogs thought they would see never showed up on this night. Then again, as their head coach said, Camden showed signs of rust as the result of a 16-day layoff.
“I was disappointed not so much in our offense,” McKie said, “because we haven’t played in a while and that we were going to look bad on offense … and, we did. But when we cut it to two (points) in the second half, we casually walked out on the guys who were bombing threes. I just can’t get over that.
“I was yelling at our guys and telling them to make them put the ball on the floor and squeeze the gap. But we just walked out toward them like they hadn’t hit any (threes) the whole game.”
The instance to which McKie was referring came after his team cut the deficit to 40-38 following a Jamal Jackson basket with 12 seconds left in the third quarter. Cheraw then worked the ball around on the other end before finding a wide-open D.J. Quick, who buried his game-best fifth trey of the night from the top right side of the arc as the buzzer sounded to give the AA entry a 43-38 lead.
The final Braves’ basket from distance, a Raheem Harrington bomb, opened the fourth quarter scoring and touched off what became a 7-0 run. A trey from Camden’s Jamari Ferguson followed by a Josh Council layin (coming off a Darelle Smith steal) brought the Dogs to within 50-43 at the 5:18 mark of the fourth quarter. Cheraw would then score the next five points and with less than two and a half minutes to go, it took a commanding 55-43 advantage.
Camden opened the game finding openings in the 2-3 Cheraw defense with Smith and Council rolling in layins before Ferguson and Delton Bradford scored on stickbacks to help the Dogs jump to a 10-2 lead against Cheraw, whose offense which seemed confused in trying to attack the Camden zone defense.
The Braves would right the ship with Quick dropping home four first quarter treys, including a pair that ended a stanza which closed with Cheraw holding a 17-15 lead on the strength of five 3-point baskets.
“We didn’t want to change our defense because they struggle so much with it,” McKie said. “So, I just said, ‘Let’s get out on them and make them put the ball on the floor.’ And, we still didn’t do it. Once (Cheraw) found their rhythm on offense …
“But I’m just amazed at our lackadaisical attitude on defense.”
Camden used a Council trey and a Ferguson drive for a pair to regain the lead at 20-19 with just less than five minutes left in the first half. Cheraw answered with, what else, a Marvin Lauderdale trey and a Demetrius Holiday putback to regain the advantage at 24-20. Holiday closed the first half scoring with a layin off a steal and a 10-foot jumper with a minute left to close the scoring in a first 16 minutes which saw the Braves carry a 29-22 lead into intermission.
Camden opened the second half with a 6-0 run, trimming the deficit to 29-28 following a Channing Wood layin. A pair of Malcolm Hunter 3-balls, in a 16-second span, gave the lead back to the Braves at 35-28. The Dogs went beyond the arc, getting bombs from Ferguson and Council to cut the lead back to 35-34 with 3:15 left in the third.
The Dogs, however, could not get the lead back and once trailing by more than five, they started hoisting up 3-point shots, but never got into a groove from distance as would Cheraw. What also hurt Camden was not going inside enough as it made just four of 11 free throw attempts.
“We don’t attack the basket off the dribble,” McKie said of the lack of an inside game. “(Cheraw) sat in a zone the whole game and we don’t do a good job of getting the ball inside. And when we do get it inside, we don’t do a good job of holding onto it.
“We fell in love with the three tonight. We make one and then, we think we can make 10 in a row. We’re going to have to find a balance because right now, we’re not getting anything inside.”
Both teams placed three players in double figures led by Hunter’s 19 for the Braves. Camden received a team-best 14 points from Ferguson while Council and Smith had 13 and 10 points, respectively.
While coming back from Boonetown with a trophy would have been nice, McKie used the two-day event as a time to get his players back into a game mode while trying to see what direction he will go with once Region 6-AAA play begins on Friday night against visiting Crestwood. That contest will cap a three-game week for the Bulldogs who have non-region games at Newberry and McBee on Monday and Wednesday, respectively
“I wanted to just play everybody and start gearing up for the region,” McKie said of the goal for this tourney. “I still don’t have a real good rotation in mind. I told our guys that everybody was going to play in this tournament. We’re going to throw them out there and see what they can do.
“Some of them struggled when they came off the bench tonight. They’re going to have to get better in practice or, when it gets to region, they may not see a lot of playing time.”

Cheraw (62): Justin Chapman 1 0-0 2, D.J. Quick 5 0-1 15, Raheem Harrington 5 0-0 13, Malcolm Hunter 4 9-9 19, Marvin Lauderdale 1 1-2 4, Demetrius Holiday 3 0-0 6, Garrett White 1 0-0 2, Kevon Butler 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 11-14 62

Camden (49): Darelle Smith 4 2-4 10, Josh Council 5 1-2 13, Jamari Ferguson 6 0-0 14, Delton Bradford 2 0-0 4, Dashon Tucker 1 0-0 3, Hamid Mathis 0 0-2 0, Channing Wood 1 0-0 2, Jamal Jackson 1 0-1 2, Marcus Williams 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 4-11 49

Score by quarters: First: Cheraw, 17-15; Halftime: Cheraw, 29-22; Third: Cheraw, 43-38; Three-point goals: Cheraw 11 (Quick 5, Harrington 3, Hunter 2, Lauderdale); Camden 5 (Ferguson 2, Council 2, Tucker)

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