Stags open season with 2-1 mark

  • Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dan Brown/Independent Berkeley swingman Payton Thompson throws up a running hook in the Stags’ win over Stratford.

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Berkeley Stags basketball coach Joe Wallace called the first week of the 2013-14 season “pretty intense” for his ball club, with three games played over a five-day span.

The Stags opened with hard fought wins over Cane Bay and Stratford before running out of gas in a Friday night loss at Summerville.

“The guys are really playing inspired basketball and know what it is going to take to reach our goals,” Wallace said.

In the season opener against neighboring rival Cane Bay, the Stags fed off a spirited Monday night crowd to win going away 83-62.

“Our fans were into the game and the guys fed off of the excitement,” Wallace said. “We established how we wanted to play from the very beginning and a lot of guys contributed.”

Diamonte Harley led all scorers with 17 points. Alex Taylor played a big time inside game off the bench, shooting 7-for-11 from the floor to chip in 15 points. Demery Ford stepped up with double figures as well with 12 points.

“We really blew the game open with a 31-point second quarter,” Wallace said.

Against Stratford the Stags held off a furious second half comeback rally by the Knights to pull out the win in overtime. While six players short with the football team playing last week for the Class AAAA Div. II state championship, Stratford mounted a second half comeback to erase a 9-point Stags lead and draw even at the end of regulation on a running righthander by Camden Amidon at the buzzer.

“The Stratford game was a little too exciting for me,” Wallace said. “My guards played pretty well. D’Andre Richardson had 16 points and Keyshawn Matthews had 14.”

The Stags pulled away during the overtime period at the foul line with Richardson and Diamonte Harley making some huge free throws down the stretch to help seal the win. Harley finished with eight points, six coming from the charity stripe during overtime.

The Knights’ Demetre Rivers led all scorers with 18 points.

Hitting the road against Summerville on Friday, Berkeley may have fallen prey to an empty gas tank.

“We knew we were going to have to play our best if we wanted to come out with a win against one of the top teams in AAAA basketball who did not lose a home game last season,” Wallace said.

The Stags came out flat against the Green Wave, falling behind by as many as 17 points in the first half.

“We shot horribly from the field and really didn’t show any hustle or liveliness until the end of the third quarter,” Wallace said.

Berkeley cut the Summerville lead to four in the third quarter but could draw no closer.

“We simply ran out of steam and time,” Wallace said.

According to the coach Mason Edwards turned in the best game of his varsity career against the Green Wave, finishing with 11 points and pulling down 8 rebounds.

“I hope to see some consistency from him as well as from all of my players,” Wallace said. “To be successful, we will have to continue to play great defense which will create offensive scoring opportunities.”

John Jenkins paced the Green Wave with 14 points, followed by Timmy Singleton with 12 points and Christian Kalacanic with 10 points.

D’Andre Richardson led all scorers with 16 points to give the junior point guard a total of 48 points for the three-game week.

The Stags hit the road for the remainder of the 2013 portion of the schedule, traveling to Goose Creek, Timberland and Stratford over the next two weeks before the holiday break.

Berkeley will take part in the Lake Marion Christmas Tournament on Dec. 26, facing Military Magnet in the opening round of play.

“I told my guys we are on one of the road trips that you see in the NBA,” Wallace said. “I believe that we will definitely be battle tested by the time region play begins.”

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