There’s nothing like a good start for a young team, and the South Effingham Mustangs basketball team got one Tuesday night to keep their good start going.
South Effingham scored the first 14 points of the game and rolled to a 44-11 win over Hardeeville on Tuesday night. With the win, the Mustangs improved to 2-1.
“It’s huge,” Mustangs coach Jason Keeler said of the start. “It validates the effort and hard work they have put in the last three weeks.”
As the Hurricanes failed to find the basket — at all — in the first nine minutes, the Mustangs relentlessly and methodically worked their offensive sets.
“You have to be able to adapt to your personnel,” Keeler said. “This isn’t college where you can recruit who you want. You take what you get and do what you can do with them.”
The Mustangs led 26-5 at the half, not that Keeler was all that impressed with the first two quarters from his team.
“We did a lot of things wrong in the first half,” he said, noting nine turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds allowed. “You can’t be satisfied with just being better than the other team. You have to be as good as you can be.”
To that end, the Mustangs allowed only three offensive rebounds and committed three turnovers during the final two quarters.
“I was really proud of the guys for coming out in the second half and executing the way I know we should,” Keeler said.
Eddie Harris and Zach Anderson each finished with 11 points. Jamaal Bynes had seven points and Brandon English had four points and four rebounds, all in the fourth quarter.
“I’m real proud of him for his effort,” Keeler said of English.
Keeler also pointed to the contributions of Aaron Fisher.
“He played significant minutes and did what he was supposed to do,” the coach said.
Even in deliberately working through the offense, the Mustangs attacked the basket when they had the chance. They were a sizzling 18 of 27 from the field and only took two 3-pointers for the game.
“We learned from the Wayne County game that we should have been in it and maybe could have won it, but we weren’t aggressive,” Keeler said. “We saw a lot of opportunities that we passed up.”
In the learning curve his team has to master, Keeler was able to see them handle one lesson that may pay off down the road, thanks to their comfortable margin from the tipoff of the game.
“We learned how to play with a lead in the fourth quarter tonight,” he said.