Monday, January 14, 2013
The Berkeley Stags are getting hot at just the right time.
The Stags ended the 2012 portion of their season with a pair of impressive wins over their biggest rivals, a 49-39 thumping of AAAA’s Cane Bay and a 46-41 win over Timberland.
Both wins flashed moments of brilliance in what could turn into an iron curtain defense.
The Friday night home tilt with Timberland didn’t start that way though as the Stags turned the ball over 18 times in the first half and trailed by a 30-25 score.
“I told my guys at halftime that I didn't think they were playing together as a team,” said BHS Coach Joe Wallace. “We were forcing things and turning the ball over. I emphasized to them that we needed to make more of an effort defensively.”
The Stags did just that, limiting the Wolves to 11 second half points and four in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Berkeley offense to find its legs and take a 38-37 lead going into the game’s final frame. Berkeley would hold on to win 46-41 despite a somewhat sluggish 8-4 fourth quarter.
“This was a great win for us,” Wallace said. “I was not concerned about offense; I just need to get stops on defense. We came out in the second half and executed a lot better. We took care of the ball a lot better committing only six turnovers.”
The Stags had a balanced scoring attack with D’Andre Robinson and Ormaine Thomas leading the Berkeley effort with 10 points each. Tairi Major added eight points and Dee Harley chipped in seven.
Wallace added that his team is learning how to fight back from behind.
“It's defense that will give you a chance to win the ball game,” he said. “That's the type of defensive effort we have to show for four quarters. We played more as a team in the second half. We still made a few poor decisions in the fourth quarter, but we were able to persevere and come out on top.”
For the Stags the key to the win involved making clutch free throws late in the game.
“Jayden Brown, Tairi Major, and D'Andre Richardson each made two huge free throws down the stretch in the fourth quarter that helped secure the win,” said Wallace, who added that any win against a cross town rival like Timberland is a great win.
Timberland’s Shamell Williams led all scorers with 19 points.
The Timberland win came two days after the Stags notched their first mark in the win column with a 49-39 win over Cane Bay.
Once again it came down to a stifling defense that limited the Cobras to just three second quarter points and allowed the Stags to ride the momentum to a 10-point win.
Tairi Major’s 19 points led the Berkeley offense with Jayden Brown chipping in 10 points.
“We have put together two wins in a row against our rivals and our guys are gaining confidence in each other and the system,” Wallace said.
The 2-5 Stags will ride that momentum into the Christmas Tournament at Lake Marion starting on Dec. 26. The Stags will play North Augusta.