Thursday, Dec. 13 2012 11:56AM
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SCA takes down Gryphons for second time
By Brian Spano
Special to the Journal
To tipoff the 2012-13 basketball season, Summit Christian Academy and University Academy hooked up in the first round of the Eagle Invitational Boys’ Basketball Tournament. The game went down to the wire with the Eagles coming away with a 53-51 buzzer-beating victory over the Gryphons.
Well, that recent memory weighed heavy on the minds of the visiting Gryphons Dec. 11 trying to avoid yet another heartbreaking loss. But this time, there was no buzzer-beater as the Eagles, 5-1, used an early second-quarter spurt to come from behind and win 72-61.
“I took a timeout and said ‘guys, you’re going to guard or you’re not going to be on the floor,’” Eagle head coach Jake Kates said of the turning point in the game. “That’s all we worked on the last six days of practice is guarding, and we knew they were going to attack the rim. We were selling for jump shots on the offensive end, and that turned into them transitioning.”
The Gryphons jumped out to a 15-8 lead to open the game, but the Eagles hit six points to close out the first quarter, and then 13 straight to start the second, and it was enough to hold off a furious second-half rally and keep University Academy at bay.
Junior guard Taurin Hughes finished with a game-high 21 points, but 11 of those came in the fourth quarter, hitting clutch free throws in the closing seconds to help seal the victory.
“It really wasn’t a good third quarter for us with communication on offense and what we were doing with pressure they were giving, so in the fourth quarter, I tried to calm everybody down,” Hughes said. “I tried to get everyone to communicate and go through the stuff we already knew.”
Although the Eagles went on a 19-0 run to take control of the game, the real spark that jump-started the team may have come on the defensive side from senior guard Garrett Gibson. He was all over the floor wreaking havoc in the Gryphons’ offensive sets. He created turnovers, started the Eagles’ transition and even provided a little offense with 13 points of his own.
“We picked up the defensive intensity and just working hard,” Gibson said. “I usually look to Hughes on offense to score, and my goal is to get stops and steals for defense to create offense. I just try to play good defense.”
Both teams knew they would have to go deep into their bench later in the game when they each got into early foul trouble. Three players had three fouls by halftime. So the on-court chess match went on as the Eagles continued to stave off the Gryphons quick and physical attack to try to pull back into the game.
Summit Christian was led in scoring by Hughes with 21 points, followed by Gibson with 13 points and Matt Collier and Henry Stratton with 10 each. Greg Nicoll added eight points, Harrison Shearer had six points and Donovan Kim netted five points.
“That should have been a game with a little more flow, and it would have been a more fun game to watch with those two teams on the floor,” Kates said. “They are very athletic, and we aren’t a pretty team offensively. We get a lot of points of our defense and we’re not going to blow a lot of people out.”