Garner boys basketball coach Eddie Gray wasn’t pleased with his team’s attention to detail for much of the first quarter and a half of play at home against West Johnston Tuesday.
So Gray stirred the pot a bit by taking his starters out of the game to help them regain their focus while watching some of the bench players take control of the contest and help to change the momentum en route to a convincing 82-62 victory.
Jashaun Smith came off the bench to lead all Trojans with 17 points, while fellow reservist Nick Kuhns had nine important points in the first quarter to prevent Garner from falling behind.
“We didn’t come out very well on offense, we made some very poor decisions with our passes and we settled for shots we didn’t have to settle for,” Gray said. “We had some guys come off the bench that were more focused and we started to turn it around.”
For West Johnston, it was Cameron Williams. The guard not only led the Wildcats with 17 points but also worked his way to grabbing eight rebounds despite the inches he was giving up in height to the Trojans’ front court.
The bench was also quite effective for both teams as the Garner reserves totaled 44 points in the contest while the Wildcats who came off the bench contributed 30 points.
“For the last couple games now, we’ve been going pretty deep,” West Johnston coach Kris Bennett said. “I’m proud of the team mentality.”
John Graham came off the bench and posted a big nine point, seven rebound night. Evan Black, Tyrone Jones-Benson and Alec Ketrow all had six points off the bench for the Wildcats as well.
Kyreece Mills added 12 points for the Trojans.
The Wildcats took it to the talented Garner team and held a 25-22 lead in the early stages of the second quarter before a classic 17-3 Garner run took control of the game.
“We fought hard against a great opponent all night long,” said Bennett. “Guys really gave up their bodies tonight taking charges and challenging kids at the rim. We did a lot of the things that we want to do with this program; I’m proud of the way the guys are playing.”
“It’s a real fine line, we don’t really have a great post-presence on this team so our guards have to carry us,” said Gray. “They’re going to have some off-nights but generally speaking though, we have kids with very good attitudes.”
Coach Gray’s message to the bench after one of his players was assessed a technical foul.