Coach Darrin Stinson found when he implemented a press in Thursday’s fast-paced league game against Southeast Raleigh, his East Wake team thrived.
So he kept his players in press formation for nearly the entire game. The result was an 83-66 win for the Warriors over the Bulldogs, who were previously unbeaten in conference play.
“(East Wake’s) pressure bothered us early, but we kind of figured it out in the second half and did a better job against it,” Southeast coach John Baker said. “But the pressure is designed to speed us up and I thought we were going too fast. It was effective in what they wanted to do.”
Stinson was concerned with how his Warriors (7-3, 2-1 Greater Neuse River 4A) would stack up against the up-tempo Bulldogs, who dished out their own fair share of pressure. He was pleased to see guards – namely Kyle Lockett, Josh Siler and Josh McLean – hold it together in testing times for East Wake.
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“It’s great for them to be able to handle (Southeast’s) pressure, because they’ve always been a hands-on team,” Stinson said. “We have maturing guards that have gotten better over the summer playing in these types of games in jamborees. Going to VCU and ECU (for tournaments) and playing good teams helped us be able to handle it.”
Southeast (6-2, 2-1) showed equal intensity and offensive output in the first five minutes, but a 3-pointer by Siler and steal and lay-in by Quincy Jackson out of the press began a run that left East Wake up 21-14 after one quarter.
The second quarter saw the Bulldogs surge and cut the margin to 33-31 on a three by William Walker, who produced all three of the Southeast’s shots from beyond the arc and led the team with 22 points. Southeast won the frame by a single point, however, after Siler hit his second deep shot and East Wake’s Nahjuwan Potts tipped in his own follow-up at the buzzer to lead 40-34 at halftime.
East Wake switched to a middle press in the third quarter that proved less effective, but Potts managed to score nine of his game-high 28 points as East Wake built a 61-49 lead.
Walker helped Southeast rally to 67-60 on his second 3-pointer with five minutes left in the game, and again to a 70-64 margin on his final three with 1:55 on the clock. Potts answered with a pair of athletic plays off turnovers – a steal, spin and lay-in, and another basket in the paint following a traveling call against the Bulldogs – amidst a 7-0 Warriors run that put the game on ice.
“Loose balls, that’s what I evaluate intensity on – rebounds, 50-50 balls, the little things,” Baker said. “(East Wake) did all the little things, so when you do all the little things, you’re going to win.”
The Warriors had 10 players score in the game, with Potts and Jackson (20 points) finishing in double figures. Demetrius Sanders contributed 16 points for Southeast, while Myles Harris added 14 and Kwamaine Fairley tallied 10.
Baker said it was the first time this season his team had seen tenacity like East Wake displayed. He said it was a good, eye-opening experience.
“It was new to some of the guys,” Baker said. “My seniors have seen it before and they answered the bell, but you have another group of guys who haven’t seen that intensity so they weren’t ready for it.
“It was the type of game as a player you want to play in and as a coach you want to be in.”