The Dark Horse men’s basketball team won their second holiday tournament on Friday night, this time at West Bladen, beating 4A Scotland 80-57 to claim the title of Wooden of the World Christmas Tourney champions.
“This was a dominant win over a very good 4A Scotland team,” said head coach Randy Jordan. “The game was not as close as the score indicates as we had a 32-point lead at one point in the second quarter and a 26-point lead at the end of the third.”
This was indeed a dominant performance by the Horses lead once again by outstanding three point shooting, which they’ve had during the entire tourney.
“We made eight three-point baskets for the game, 30 total 3s for the three-game tournament,” said Jordan. “We were 8-of-18 at the three-point line for the night. The hard work they are putting in shooting the ball every day is starting to pay off.”
Their hard work showed in the first half of this game but not just on offense by shooting well, defense also played on the same commanding level. Jumping out to a 15 point lead by the end the first quarter the offense went for 27. While defense controlled the pace of Scotland allowing them only 12 in period.
Clinton went for seven less in the second quarter but still played really well scoring another 20 points. The defense shined in this period as they owned the tempo of Scotland preventing them for reaching double digits. Going for only seven the Horses pushed their lead to 28 by halftime, the score 47-19.
“We played very well in the first half at both ends of the floor. After a slow start, our defense forced some turnovers which we converted into points. Then we got out and defended their three point shooters which caused them to change what they wanted to do on offense,” remarked Jordan.
“We did a great job in transition as we scored a number of easy baskets and really started to attack the basket by spreading them out,” he added. “Our changing defense really caused them problems and forced them to play at a tempo they did not want to play.”
The Horses weren’t as dominate in the second half but it didn’t hinder them much as their first half lead would be to much for Scotland to overcome. They outscored Clinton in the third by four points going for 17 to the Horses 13 but it didn’t cut into the deficit much.
Out scoring them again in the fourth, by a point, with 21 it hardly mattered as Clinton went for another 20 to solidify their second tourney title by 23 points.
“To be up 30 at the end of the first half against a quality opponent like Scotland says a lot about who this group of young men can be. They were really dominant for three days in this tournament,” commented coach.
Scoring came from an abundance of player with Kris Williams leading the way with 21 points, four assists, four steals and six of six at the line. Dewan Lesesne was behind him with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Zion Autry and Cameron Lawson also had big nights. Autry finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steal and was five of five from the line. While Lawson ended scoring leaders with seven points, two rebounds and two steals.
The bench also contributed well starting with Hampton Brock who had five points, two assist, Jalen Owens with five points, two assist and Tymair McIntyre with three points.
“We got great contributions off the bench from Hampton Brock, Owens and Tymair McIntyre. McIntyre did an excellent job running our offense and being a leader on the floor,” said Jordan.
Williams was awarded the MVP of the tournament, while Lesesne and Autry received All-Tourney Team awards.
The Dark Horses are now 10-1 overall and are on a five-game winning streak. They get into conference play when they hit their home court on Tuesday against Midway.
“We are excited about where we are at this point in the season, but realize there is a long way to go,” Jordan conceded. “It is great to be playing well at this time and have won two holiday tourneys, but we don’t want to peak in December. We will continue to work hard to be better every day.”
Reach Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.