In less than 30 seconds, the Groves Rebels basketball team showed why they were on the verge of pulling away from the Effingham County Rebels.
Effingham turned the ball over three times in 24 seconds to open the second quarter and turned it over on each of its first six possessions as Groves posted an 85-58 victory Saturday night.
Dalton Couey’s 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer brought Effingham to within 16-13 after the homestanding Rebels were down by as much as eight in the first period.
But as Effingham coughed up the basketball, Groves turned those chances to points, going on a 20-2 run to take a 36-15 lead.
“We had too many turnovers in the second quarter,” Effingham coach Travis Dickey said. “We had too many fouls. We got into foul trouble right off the bat. We were scrambling to get the right guys in there.”
Groves finished in the first quarter in the bonus and was 21 of 38 from the free-throw line, making more foul shots than Effingham attempted. Effingham was 11 of 19 at the line.
Effingham also had trouble keeping the bigger and quicker Groves players off the offensive glass. On one possession in the third quarter, Groves had six shots before finally getting one to fall.
“We knew Groves was going to be one of the better teams we would face all year,” Dickey said. “They’ve got skill. They had a size and quickness edge on us. I don’t think we did that much wrong. You’ve got to give them credit. They’re a better team.”
Perry Herbert and Darryl Wright led Effingham with 11 points. Jon Duff and Marquel Manior each had eight points, Stephen Tarpley had six and Nolan Spake added five.
“We’ve got to hit our shots,” Dickey said. “We have to get ourselves in better position.”
Eleven Groves Rebels players scored, led by Mike Hendricks’ 22 points. Marcus Green finished with 18 and Asa Nails had 12.