YORK — Perhaps South Pointe coach Melvin Watson would want to tape record the halftime speech Tuesday after the Stallions held just a two-point edge against upset-minded York.
That is because South Pointe emerged from the locker room with a burst of new-found energy, which translated to a dominating 27-point swing in the third quarter to turn what was a close game into a 70-43 blowout.
Watson said that halftime chat focused on what was said to have been a subpar first-half effort.
“That was the most points that we have given up in a half this season, and I just did not like the effort,” Watson said of the first two quarters. “I told them that we could not afford to take York lightly.
“I told them that this team played a very close game against Rock Hill and were in position to win late in the contest. So yes, I got on them pretty good. We appeared to be a half-step slow defensively and were blowing several lay-ups.”
Led by forward Anthony Johnson, the Stallions applied a suffocating half-court trap, which caused Cougars ball handlers nightmares with a series of turnovers.
Johnson ignited the Stallions with 18 of his game-high 26 points during the 32-5 run in the third quarter. South Pointe scored the first 22 points of the third quarter, with 14 coming from Johnson, who dazzled the crowd with slashing layups and two dunks during that stretch.
It was not until a jumper from Kaiyon Schrader with 3:33 remaining in the third before York could get on the board. However, it did little to stop the bleeding as South Pointe reeled off six more points, with Johnson’s slam opening a 55-27 lead.
When the third-quarter dust settled, South Pointe had turned a slim two-point lead into a 59-30 route, which York was unable to answer.
That was a far cry from the first two quarters when the Cougars built a 25-20 lead when guard Markell Castle drained a 3-point jumper and forward Deshaw Andrews drove the lane for a short jumper.
South Pointe answered by closing the second quarter on a 7-0 run, which carried over into the dominating third-quarter performance.
“We got out of our game plan,” York coach Larry Dixon said. “We had it working well in the first half, but in the third quarter, we just started turning the ball over and it is tough to get into your offense like that.
“When we did turn the ball over, we tried to get it all back at once. But we have to continue to learn,” from negative experiences.
“Every team will go through a bit of adversity and we have to get mentally tougher to handle these types of situations.”
South Pointe, 15-1 and 8-1 in Region 3-AAAA, also got 11 points from PJ Heath. Andrews paced the Cougars with 18.
South Pointe 70, York 43
South Pointe — Tay Blake 6, Justin Hart 3, Dylan Burton 4, Devin Pearson 2, Chris Frazier 2, Anthony Johnson 26, Marvron Motley 5, Montez McCullough 5, Isiah Rodney 6, PJ Heath 11.
York — Markell Castle 6, KJ Jones 1, Jalann McPhail 9, DJ Simpson 5, Deshaw Andrews 18, Kaiyon Schrouder 2, Ben Spratley 2.
3-pointers — South Pointe 4 (Johnson 3, Burton 1), York 7 (McPhail 3, Castle 2, Simpson 1, Andrews 1. Team fouls — South Pointe 13, York 16. Fouled out — None.
Records: South Pointe 15-1, 8-1 in Region 3-AAAA; York 6-11, 2-7.