Tuesday, January 14, 2014
If the St. John’s Christian Academy Cavaliers were a little rusty following Christmas break, they didn’t show it in an 85-35 drumming of James Island Christian on Jan. 7.
A little rust is inevitable, according to Cavs Coach Bob Winters, whose team appears not to have lost its stride.
“All coaches like to return from a long break with a game that is winnable despite the inevitable rustiness that occurs following an extended layoff,” the coach said. “Fortunately that is what happened to us Tuesday night. We were not as sharp as we were prior to the lay-off but were able to dominate our opponent.”
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 17-2 first quarter lead and then turned on the after burners with a blistering 25-point second quarter to go up 42-10 at the half.
Winters said he is seeing continued improvement on the court despite the temporary rustiness from the layoff.
“We did show improvement in making our free throws, some of our less experienced players showed me that they are learning to play man to man defense,” he said.
An offense is only as good as the one directing traffic and Winters said point guard Robby O’Dell has grown into the position.
“Robby is developing into a point man that looks up the floor well and is getting the ball to the open man.”
O’Dell had three points on the night, but his job is to create soring opportunities for the other four guys on the floor, according to Winters. O’Dell notched eight assists with just a pair of turnovers in the win.
The Cavaliers “Big Three” scorers took care of business with Jalen Ward canning 32 points, followed by Damian Hurta with 17 points and Greg Gamble dominating inside with 15 points.
Both Ward and Gamble turned in double-doubles, hauling down 15 and 19 rebounds respectively.
Gamble also had eight blocks, just missing a triple-double – rare in high school basketball.
Jalen Ward had a career night and is beginning to become the player that I always knew he can be,” Winters said. “We totally dominated the glass and showed a lot of improvement in the area of offensive rebounding, which is gratifying as we have been emphasizing that in practice sessions.”
With the win the Cavs improve to 7-2 on the 2013-2014 season with games against Florence Christian, Henry Academy and Coastal Christian this week.
“To date we have only one really sub-par performance and that was against Faith Christian,” Winters said. “Our other loss was in double overtime to Myrtle Beach Christian Academy and we really didn’t play poorly in that game, just couldn’t make a free throw when we needed it.”
On Thursday against Coastal Christian, SJCA hosts Alumni Appreciation Night with all alumni from both Lord Berkeley Academy and SJCA being admitted free of charge.
“We expect a really big crowd,” Winters said.