Peak leads Gaffney Indians past South Pointe Stallions boys

bmccormick@heraldonline.comDecember 6, 2013 

Gaffney’s L.J. Peak could get used to playing these Rock Hill schools.

Peak, headed to Georgetown University next season on scholarship, scored 35 in a win over Rock Hill on Tuesday, and capped off the week with 32 Friday night in the Indians’ hectic 76-71 win over South Pointe.

The host Stallions went scoreless for over 3 minutes late in a contest of which they led the majority. Tired legs sapped their chances of hanging on late.

“When they got tired, we lost focus of what we were supposed to be doing and we gave up some easy baskets, and (Peak) got going,” said South Pointe coach Melvin Watson. “He’s a special kid, great player. He showed why he’s going to Georgetown tonight.”

As the home team wore down, Peak seemed to only get stronger. He picked up his fourth foul with two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Stallions were unable to grow their lead while Gaffney’s star was parked on the bench.

When he returned, it was with a vengeance. Peak scored eight points in a two-minute stretch, including the bucket that gave the Indians their first lead of the game with just over five minutes left. Peak’s resurgence coincided with the Stallions’ barren offensive stretch, but they still had a chance to pull out a result. Down 75-71 with 54 seconds left, Tyreece Brice drove to the bucket, only for Peak to thump his shot into the floor and snatch the loose ball, all but clinching the win for the visitors.

“I knew my team would hold me down while I was on the bench, and then I just had to come back and play my game,” Peak said afterward.

Several college coaches were in the stands to watch Brice, and he didn’t disappoint either, leading the Stallions with 23 points. Mustafia Love and Anthony Johnson both pitched in 13, but South Pointe’s reliance on football players hurt at times. Still, the experience was a positive for a Stallion team that was ranked second in the state without a single game having been played.

“There’s a lot of things that went on in that game that we didn’t do well,” said Watson. “But I thought overall, it was good.”

South Pointe led by double digits for much of the first half. Gabe Kirk contributed to the Stallion cause with a couple of buckets off the bench during a 13-4 South Pointe run, the latter coming after Johnson and Love hot-potatoed the ball before finding Kirk for a simple lay-in to make it 20-8 and force an Indian timeout. Out of the timeout, Chris Frazier hit a 3 from the right elbow for a 23-11 Stallions lead, their biggest of the first half.

A Gaffney spurt, capped by a nice bucket plus the foul by Peak, got the Indians to within four at 23-19, but the hosts pulled away again, building an 11-point lead at 30-19. Johnson’s swing pass to Love resulted in a 3, before Johnson stole the ball and shoveled ahead for Love to thump home.

The Stallions led 47-38 at the break, but Gaffney began the second half with new purpose, Peak especially. He scored nine of his team’s first 11 points as the Indians dissolved the South Pointe lead to 53-49 with two and a half minutes left. But Peak picked up his fourth foul a short while later, confining the 6-foot-4 wing to the bench, and setting up his show-stopping return in the fourth quarter.

Gaffney 76, South Pointe 71

Gaffney11271820-76
South Pointe23241212-71

Individual: SP- Bradham 2, Love 13, Frazier 5, Brice 23, Johnson 13, Brown 1, Rodney 4. G- Davidson 23, Peak 32, Foster 7, Ellis 3, Shippy 5, Tate 1.

Team fouls: SP- 26; G- 26.

Girls

Stallions top Gaffney on coach’s debut: South Pointe girls’ basketball head coach Stephanie Butler wants her team to play aggressive, active defense. Okay, maybe not that aggressive.

The Stallions beat Gaffney 68-56 in Butler’s South Carolina debut, but it wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty. A physical, choppy contest saw 52 fouls called, an average of one nearly every 45 seconds. Twenty-eight of those were whistled on the host Stallions.

“Early on they let us both play,” said Butler. “We both play a lot of the same way. We’re gonna play aggressively. I thought it wasn’t the initial foul, it was silly fouls, like helpside and stuff.”

A run to close the first half proved the difference for South Pointe. A Gaffney lay up cut South Pointe’s lead to 22-18 with about six and a half minutes left in the first half, but that bucket seemed to spur the Stallions into action. They ripped off a 17-2 run over the next five-plus minutes to open a 39-20 lead. Deiona Davis scored six straight in the run, part of her 14 in the game. T’Keia Williams’ 17 led South Pointe scoring. Fouls aside, it was a pretty promising first outing for Butler’s group.

“Basically, they did what I asked them to. It was that second and third play that caught us with the fouls,” she said. “But I’m proud of the kids. They were able to play through it and get a win.”

South Pointe 68, Gaffney 56

Gaffney13111121-56
South Pointe19211216-68

Individual: SP- T’Keia Williams 17, Deiona Davis 14, Isarelle Clark 5, Cameron Davis 9, Denisha Hall 11, Raven Byers 9, Breana Davis 2, Franquia Byers 1. G- Linder 4, Sides 4, Cornwell 21, Goudelock 12, Bonner 13.

Team fouls: SP- 28; G- 24.

Bret McCormick •  803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T

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