Rebels starting to discover offense in consolation victory

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Who cares about defense when you can win by 20, score 71 and execute in your halfcourt offense time and time again?

Not that he’d ever preach that, but it had to be one of the thoughts running through Adams County Christian School head coach John Gray’s mind Saturday.

His Rebels fought back from an early five-point deficit to prevail on their home court over Parklane 71-51 in the consolation final of the Cellular South Miss-Lou Classic.

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&uot;We’re finally beginning to realize we’ve got to stay organized in our sets,&uot; said Gray, a last minute interim when son Ricky Gray took over at Enterprise. &uot;They’re starting to look like what I thought we had at the beginning since we have so many senior athletes out there.

&uot;We still have a major problem starting slow, and I don’t have an answer for that right now.&uot;

Aggressive backdoor cuts and ball screens that led to high percentage layups helped ACCS to use a 14-3 run to flip a three point deficit, 18-15, into a eight-point lead, 29-21 with 1:07 to go in the first half on a pair of Glenn Williams free throws.

In the second half Williams took over by sacrificing his body on defense with charges and then calling out set plays, such as &uot;Duke&uot; where the post flashes to the top of the key for a screen on Williams’ defender to open the offense up.

Dustin Case led the Rebels with 20, as Williams poured in 18 from the point.

&uot;At the half the coaches and everybody was telling each other we needed to step it up,&uot; Williams said. &uot;That third quarter we all really came together. We were able to run our offenses and get a lot of fast breaks.&uot;

The Pioneers had a pair of sharp shooters in Benton Turnage and Ben Boyd, but ACCS was able to hold the duo to one three-ball apiece.

Turnage finished with a game-high 22, as Boyd was the second highest scorer for the Pioneers with nine points.

&uot;(Turnage) and (Ben Boyd) are usually two good outside shooters for us,&uot; Parklane head coach E.W. Foy said. &uot;We don’t have them hitting on all cylinders right now though.&uot;

Typical Mississippi Private School Association basketball here with its no nonsense, physical style of play.

The Pioneers used a 10-1 run in the first period to stake them out to a 12-5 lead.

&uot;We’ve got a long way to go to reach our potential,&uot; Gray said. &uot;However, I think this can become a good team in another five or six games.&uot;

The Rebels inched closer in the second and reclaimed the lead for good, 21-20, when Casey Gould converted the back end of a two-shot foul with a little more than three minutes remaining before the break.

AC strengthened its lead to eight before Turnage knocked home a pair from the charity stripe to send both teams into the locker room at 29-23.

&uot;The first four minutes of the third quarter are usually the most important of a game,&uot; Foy said. &uot;(The Rebels) got ahead and we couldn’t come back.’

Indeed. Gould banked in a putback to open the third and then Case laid two in along with a Williams’ layup and suddenly the Rebel lead was 14, 37-23, less than two minutes in.

&uot;I was pleased tonight with the way we played after the half, both offensively and defensively,&uot; Gray said. &uot;They’re starting to play as a team and use their abilities according to the sets we’re in.&uot;

&uot;We tried to stress to them to be the aggressors. We don’t have one of those outstanding and, what I call, god-given players. We have athletes, but not one that understands how to play at each position. Therefore, we’ve got to stay organized, especially in our defense.&uot;

Williams said some of AC’s players, such as Luke Ogden who had 13 points Saturday, are still battling the lagniappe of a long football season.

&uot;We’re starting to get it together now,&uot; Williams said. &uot;This is only our third game of the year, but I think everybody kind of woke up after last night and were ready to play basketball today.

&uot;Once we get the system down I think we’ll be pretty good.&uot;