Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Hazlewood's Mark Campbell (14) and Demetrius Garner (24) close in on Sulligent's Caleb Massey during the finals of the Class 1A regionals in Hanceville on Friday.
out of gas
Golden Bears can't climb
out of early hole
By Josh Cooper
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2460
HANCEVILLE — Hazlewood's best strategy ended up being its worst.
A tight press closed a 16-point Sulligent second- quarter lead down to 1 with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
And that was when the Bears got tired. And that was when they stopped scoring as the Blue Devils pulled away and won 58-42 in the Class 1A regional final.
"We were hoping to tire them out, but it went the other way around," said Hazlewood coach Shane Childress. "We got down early and some key players got tired. We kept digging that hole and couldn't do anything."
That hole was created by some tough luck, bad breaks and shots not falling. Hazlewood (20-11) shot 31.4 percent in the fist half, 1 of 8 from 3-point range and just 2 of 9 from the free-throw line.
Demetrius Garner was the only Golden Bear player in double figures, leading Hazlewood with 11 points. Akeem Koger finished with eight points and 10 rebounds and Keginald Harris chipped in with seven points.
Sulligent (28-2) wasn't that much better — the Blue Devils shot 36 percent from the field in the first half — but they were a step quicker and had some bounces go their way.
In the first quarter, Harris blocked a shot and after sprinting up the court, Hazlewood Don Jones missed a layup in transition. Harris then not only missed a follow-up dunk, but was given a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
"We wanted to make them play slow on offense and fast on defense," Childress said. "But they dictated the tempo of the game."
The Golden Bears started the press midway through the second, and used their quickness to get those points in transition and try to enact Childress' game plan.
The only problem was that the press was based on Hazlewood making its shots. After the Golden Bears scored a basket, they would immediately hound the Sulligent players in-bounding the ball and the players cutting to get open.
And once Hazlewood started tiring after coming back from such a large deficit, the shots stopped falling. Midway through the third quarter, the press became ineffective.
From the 5:01 mark in the third quarter until with 4:19 remaining in the fourth quarter, Hazlewood did not hit one shot. Meanwhile, Sulligent racked up 17 to open up a 50-35 lead by the time of the Golden Bears' next bucket.
"They cut it down, and I knew we were tired because we stopped being sharp," said Sulligent coach Tommy Chism. "In halftime, we regrouped and they found that second wind. That's what good players do."
Caleb Massey canned 16 points and Logan Humbers added 15 to lead the Blue Devils.
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