After Tuesday night’s game with the Benedictine Cadets, Effingham County boys basketball coach Travis Dickey can use some positive reinforcement with his Rebels.
The Rebels did the things they didn’t do in their first matchup with the Cadets a week ago and posted a 62-51 win Tuesday night at the ECHS gym.
“It’s nice to get a win,” Dickey said. “We didn’t shoot the ball really well, so it feels even better to get win like that.”
Dickey had preached to his team about boxing out and rebounding and also about defending the lob into the post. In the first game, BC’s 6-foot-7 Colin Barnes dumped in 19 points against the Rebels.
He got off to a hot start Tuesday night, scoring six points as the Cadets grabbed a 13-8 lead. But he wasn’t much of a factor after that, and the Rebels also held their own on the boards against Barnes and Daniel Coursey.
“We adjusted and played good help side defense,” Dickey said. “Our help side defense was in position. (Barnes) didn’t beat us as bad as the first time.”
The Rebels erased the early deficit with a 10-0 run, capped by two Darryl Wright baskets, one on an offensive rebound. The Rebels built the lead to eight points, as Nolan Spake drained a 3-pointer and sank a turnaround jumpshot, but Coursey answered with a pair of tip-ins and a putback, and Barnes scored inside as the Cadets forged a 27-27 tie.
But Jon Duff got fouled on an offensive rebound, following up Perry Herbert’s miss in the final seconds of the half, and hit one of two free throws to give Effingham a 28-27 lead. The Rebels were never headed after that.
“Marquel Manior played well,” Dickey said. “He was crashing the boards hard. He was attacking the rim (on offense) and putting it back up. It was nice to see. We had been boxing out and they were doing the little things so Marquel and Daryl could get rebounds.”
Effingham’s defense, and Benedictine’s wayward shooting, led the Cadets to miss their first nine shots of the third quarter. Manior had six points and Herbert drilled a 3 to build the lead to eight points.
The Rebels then ripped off the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to take a commanding 52-34 lead.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been there,” Dickey said of the large cushion. “But it feels good.”
Benedictine went away from its big lineup and went to a smaller, quicker five-man unit, and they turned up the pressure on the Rebels. They chopped the gap to eight points on Joey Fries’ 3-pointer with 2:16 to go. The Rebels retaliated with seven points in less than two minutes to put the game away.
“We ran into a tough matchup there because they were going full-court press, and Stephen Tarpley got into foul trouble,” Dickey said of his point guard. “That was a tough matchup for us.”
Spake led the Rebels (2-5) with 18 points and Manior had 13. Tarpley had nine, Wright and Herbert each added eight, Duff had four and Connor Spake had two points.
Barnes had 10 of his team-high 12 points in the first half and Jabri Bryan had 10 for BC.
The Rebels will take part in the Albany Christmas Tournament and will face longtime state powers South Gwinnett and Dougherty. South Gwinnett, the 2004 Class AAAAA state champion, produced stars Mike Mercer and Louis Williams and Dougherty, where Alexander Johnson played, was a 2001 state champ.
“It’s going to be tough,” Dickey admitted. “It was the luck of the draw. We knew it was a big tournament. If we can go in it with the right attitude, we can have some success. It will get us ready for the region schedule right after Christmas.”