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Demons down Dreher, 62-59

L-E stays perfect in Kershaw County contests

Posted: January 5, 2017 2:20 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I photo/

LUGOFF-ELGIN’S JALEN WHITE (10) leaves Dreher’s Dreshaun Jones with little room to work thanks to White’s baseline defense in first half action from Tuesday’s L-E victory.

Garrett Knight knows what his team can do on their home court. Now, the fourth-year Lugoff-Elgin head coach wants to see what his squad is made of when they leave the friendly confines of the Demons Den.

The Demons kept their home slate --- as well as their record in Kershaw County --- perfect in taking down visiting Dreher, 62-53, in a non-region pairing Tuesday night.

The win was the fourth straight for L-E (8-3) and avenged a loss at Dreher on Dec. 14. It should also give Knight and company a shot in the arm as they head to Hartsville for tonight’s Region 6-4A opener.

The Demon boss said he hopes the confidence his team has built in winning six games this season inside Kershaw County will translate to happier trips home following conference contests.

“Our guys love to play here at home,” Knight said, “and I’m getting ready to tell them (in the locker room) that we have to play like this on the road, especially Friday night in our first region game.”

The Demons placed three players in double figures led by junior forward Bradwin Salmond’s 19, which included five 3-point baskets. Senior center Elliott Campbell was next with 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while junior guard Kevon Roberson was next with 11 points.

With a decided advantage in size and bulk, the Demons tried to go inside as much as possible to the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Campbell and 6-foot-4 senior forward Marquil Thomas. Campbell came up big in muscling his way to three stickbacks while controlling things in the lane.

“We just wanted to lob the ball into them,” Knight said of trying to establish an inside presence against the smaller Blue Devils. “I told our guys that if there is a guy in your face then that probably means it’s one-on-one inside. I thought our guards did a great job of getting the ball to our inside guys tonight.”

The Demons, who were playing for the first time in 13 days, turned a 28-20 halftime lead into a 37-22 advantage in the opening two minutes of a second half in which six points from Campbell --- including a pair of putbacks --- and a Salmond trey were only interrupted by a baseline drive from T.J. Brown, who led the guests with 19 points.

After getting a short jumper from Dreshaun Jones to make it a 37-24 game with 5:16 left in the third, the Blue Devils hiked up their defensive intensity and went to a full-court press which turned the Demons over three times as Dreher (7-2) went on an 8-0 run with Brown scoring the final five as the deficit was chopped to 37-30. That drew a time out from Knight at the 4:09 mark.

“We talked about that is what we try to do in practice all the time,” he said of his instructions during the break in play. “We change up how we bring the ball up the court when people are pressing us. It got us flustered for a little while but I thought that Bradwin and Kevon stepped up and hit some big shots to help settle us down and get the lead back where we needed it to be.”

It would be senior guard Brandon Davis who came out to stick an 18-foot jumper out of the time out with a Salmond 3-ball pushing the lead to 42-32 with 1:52 left in a third stanza which closed with Jones scoring his team’s final five points to bring the guests to within 42-37. But Jones got a little too enthusiastic after a bucket with 1:33 left and was tagged with a technical foul. Robert Samuel then stepped to the line and drained both as the hosts carried a 44-37 lead into the final quarter.

L-E all but put things away in opening the fourth with a 10-0 run which began with Campbell sticking a short jumper before Samuel went into traffic and hit a shot to make it 48-37. After another Campbell pair from inside the paint area, Roberson put back his own missed shot before corralling a loose ball and dropping it in for a 54-37 lead with 5:40 left in the game.

With the Blue Devils having to foul and the Demons hitting just two of seven free throws in a 52-second stretch, it left the door slightly open. Dreher would narrow the gap to 61-53 with 16 seconds left following treys from Jalen Darby and Brown but the guests had neither enough time or, firepower left to get any closer.

“Finally, we made some shots,” Knight said of his team’s pulling away from Dreher in the final eight minutes. “Elliott came up big and hit some big shots for us under the glass. That’s what I tell our guys, the team that shoots the most layups is the one who is going to win the game. We did that tonight and I think we outplayed them in the paint.”

After losing to Dreher in Columbia, 56-43, last month, Knight said the Blue Devils were at their best when the Demons were in a man-to-man defense. This time around, L-E gave Steve Moore’s charges different looks and it paid off as the guests never seemed comfortable on offense.

“We came out and changed defenses depending on what happened,” Knight said of switching things up on the defensive end of the floor, “that kind of stymied them early because they took it to us at their place whenever we went man (to-man) on them. We kind of changed it up tonight between playing man and zone.”

A short jumper from Campbell broke a 6-6 tie in a first quarter in which the Demons led, 14-10, after a Davis jumper was sandwiched by a pair of free throws each from Salmond and Roberson.

The Demon advantage dropped to five, at 20-15, before Salmond went beyond the arc for a basket. Roberson then found the mark from distance and with less than two minutes to play in the first half, the hosts went out to a 28-18 lead which stood at 28-20 at the break.

Knight, who said his team came out a little too relaxed in the opening minutes of play, has pared his rotation to between seven to nine players. He said that those players who came off the bench, including Samuel who scored six points, never allowed the Demons to miss a beat when giving the starters a break. “That’s how it goes and that’s what you roll with. They played well in the third quarter and I left them in almost the whole time,” he said of his non-starters.

Tonight, the Demons will be going up against a young Red Fox squad which is having an up and down year and is hovering around the .500 mark heading into league play. Knight hopes getting a quality win over Dreher will pay immediate dividends for his squad.

 “This is a very big spark for us,” he said after his team handed the Blue Devils just their second loss in nine starts this season. “We have not won a region game on the road since we have been in 4A. It’s going to be pivotal that we start off well in Hartsville.”

 

DHS (53): T.J. Brown 7 3-9 19, Simon Grant 5 0-1 10, Trent Clarke 2 0-0 4, Laurence Thompson 1 0-0 2, Dreshaun Jones 4 6-9 14, Ty Rush 0 1-2 1, Jalen Darby 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 10-21 53

L-E (62): Brandon Davis 2 1-4 5, Elliott Campbell 8 0-2 16, Bradwin Salmond 5 4-6 19, Kevon Roberson 3 4-6 11, Marquil Thomas 1 1-1 3, Robert Samuel 1 4-5 6, Jalen White 1 0-0 2, Wyatt Campbell 0 0-2 0. Totals: 21 14-26 62

Score by quarters: First: L-E, 14-10; Halftime: L-E, 28-20; Third: L-E, 44-37; Three-point goals: DHS 3 (Brown 2, Darby), L-E 6 (Salmond 5, Roberson)


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