Stags rock Cane Bay, fall to Knights in thriller
The Berkeley Stags posted five players in double figures in a 73-60 rocking of Cane Bay on Dec. 16 to improve to 4-2.
And while the Stags stumbled a little in their 60-57 loss to Stratford the next night, taking a 4-3 record into the break is OK with Coach Joe Wallace.
“Against Stratford, we started out a little slow,” he said. “We began the game with our normal starting five, but quickly had to make an early substitution because Keyshawn Matthews wasn’t 100 percent.”
Wallace wound up sitting his point guard for the remainder of the contest as he struggled with an ankle sprain suffered late in the game against Cane Bay the night before.
Matthews came into the Stratford game averaging more than five points and almost three assists per game over the season’s first six games. Sitting out wasn’t part of Matthews’ game plan.
“He really wanted to play, but I didn’t want to risk him making it worse,” Wallace said.
The Stags fell behind after leading 12-11 near the end of the first quarter, trailing by four points 29-25 at the half.
“In the second half, D’Andre Richardson kept us in the game with some big baskets,” Wallace said.
Richardson led all scorers with 19 points. “Diamonte Harley and Alex Taylor made some key shots in the fourth quarter, but we came up short.”
The Stags took a 46-45 lead into the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on.
Taylor finished the game with 12 points, including six rebounds and two blocked shots. Harley chipped in nine points for the Stags.
“Stratford is a very well coached team,” Wallace said. “Like the first game, this one went down to the wire.”
Berkeley won the first meeting between the two teams in overtime, 53-47, on Dec. 4.
In the 73-60 win over the Cobras on Dec. 16, the Stags played their most complete game of the season.
“Cane Bay normally shoots well at home and they did against us Monday night,” Wallace said. “We would make a run and then they would make a run. We led by 14 at the half, but that means nothing when you have shooters and you’re playing at home.”
Wallace told his team at the half a run-and-gun game would not end well.
“We told the guys that sound defense was what was going to win this game for us,” he said. “Cane Bay came out firing and hit five three-pointers in the second half. We stayed steady and pulled out a 13-point road win.”
Four Stags finished with double figures in the win. Matt Harkness, Malik Meggett, Richardson and Harley all paced the balanced Berkeley attack with 11 points each.
Payton Thompson added eight points.
Berkeley will travel to Santee over the break to take part in the Lake Marion Christmas Tournament on Dec. 26. The Stags take on Military Magnet in the opening round of action.