Published 12:00 am Monday, March 1, 2004
NATCHEZ &045; Bling, bling.
In Cathedral’s regular season victory against West Lincoln earlier this month, the Green Wave threw a diamond-and-one defense and the Bears were unable to handle it.
On Thursday during the Region 7-1A tournament semifinals, Cathedral used the same scheme and once again it paid off.
Email newsletter signup
Russell Barmer hounded West Lincoln shooter Brooks Smith all night, holding him again to five points &045; the same total he had during the 37-32 loss in Natchez on Feb. 10 &045; as the No. 5 Green Wave pulled off the 51-38 upset of the top-seeded Bears at Roy J. Garcia gymnasium.
The victory not only puts Cathedral into the tourney championship game against Bogue Chitto at 8:30 p.m. today, but also guarantees the Wave will host a first round South State game next week.
&uot;I got some great help defense from my teammates tonight,&uot; said Barmer, who finished with 10 points. &uot;We were able to stop (Smith). They started penetrating a lot at the end to get back in it. That was frustrating.&uot;
But not so much so that it spoiled the party for Cathedral, who controlled the tempo of the game from the second quarter on.
A Matt Goss half-court 3-pointer to beat the first quarter horn broke a 7-7 tie and sparked the Green Wave’s outburst through the next eight minutes.
Cathedral held the Bears to two points in the second, a long Shane Lynch jumper, and kept them without a point for more than 10 minutes until Landon Case hit a runner with 2:40 left in the third period.
&uot;Their defense was the difference,&uot; West Lincoln head coach Lane Young said. &uot;We missed a bunch of open shots, but they wanted it more than us. Coach (Bobby) Holder has done an excellent job with this team.&uot;
While the Bears were struggling to open the tight seal off their rim, Cathedral was having no trouble going inside to Jonathan Jackson or getting easy buckets in transition.
Jackson, who finished with a team-high 22 points and a plethora of rebounds, drove to the iron with 5:15 left before intermission to make it 16-9.
&uot;I knew my team needed me to play hard,&uot; Jackson said. &uot;Coach said before the game he wanted me to get every rebound and to not stop taking the ball inside. I took his advice.&uot;
Smith was stripped of the ball by his shadow, Barmer, who laid in an uncontested deuce. Goss gave the Wave a 20-9 halftime lead when he drove hard to the glass and was rewarded with 1:55 to play.
&uot;We had a big hole right from the start,&uot; Young said. &uot;Every time we’d make a climb to get back in it, Cathedral made a play, grabbed a loose ball or a rebound &045; they got everything.&uot;
Even when Cathedral seemed to be struggling n the beginning of the second half, the Bears were unable to make a run at the Wave.
A well-executed Jackson backdoor layup off a pretty Barmer feed got Cathedral back on track and its lead up to 15, 24-9, less than a minute into the third.
Case, who led all scorers with 23, broke an 11-minute, 53-seconds drought with a bucket to keep the margin within 15 after Barmer was clutch on a pair of free throws.
&uot;I think we psyche ourselves up mentally the bigger the game,&uot; Barmer said. &uot;We’ve just got a taste. We’re this close now and we want to go all the way. Now we’ve got a pretty good feel.&uot;
The gap remained at 15 after three quarters were in the books and grew to 18, 40-22, four minutes in to the final period when Charlie Lane made one of two at the line.
The Bears finally made a run, reeling off eight unanswered to get within 10, 40-30, with 2:58 remaining when Case dropped in two more.
&uot;I knew we had to the composure. As long as the young guys kept it up, we were going to be fine,&uot; Barmer said. &uot;They did a good job to step up.&uot;
The Wave let their lead dip into single digits, but it wasn’t their fault. The 40-31 score reflected on the scoreboard did not match the scorer’s book and Cathedral quickly built its lead up to 13, 45-32, 14, 48-34, and finally 15, 49-34, with 33 seconds left, all courtesy of trips to the charity stripe.
&uot;We knew we had the talent to go somewhere,&uot; Jackson said. &uot;Coach (Holder) told us at the beginning of the season when we were 0-6, our goal should be going to South State. Now we want to win the district tournament.&uot;