The preseason-No. 2 ranked South Pointe boys were just glad to play somebody besides the Gaffney Indians in basketball Tuesday night, and they looked more like the team their lofty ranking would suggest in dismantling Clover 60-30 at South Pointe.
After two tough losses to the Indians, led by Georgetown commit L.J. Peak, the Stallions welcomed back Anthony Johnson to the lineup. Johnson missed the second of the two games while in Myrtle Beach for the North-South All-Star football. The home team was still missing Shrine Bowler Zeek Rodney, but coach Melvin Watson feels his team is coming together.
“I still feel that we’re a week and a half away,” Watson said. “We still have to work on conditioning. I think some of the younger guys and the older guys are starting to mesh a little bit and get some kind of team chemistry. But I still feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do. I told my guys the ranking was going to be hard to live up to, especially with the games we started with.”
Clover’s Alex Thompson scored 11 of the team’s 12 first-quarter points but only got five of his game-high 16 after that. The Blue Eagles only trailed 16-12 after one.
“We wanted to just make him put it on the floor and make him work,” Watson said.
South Pointe led 25-17 before scoring the last four points of the second period and the first 16 of the third to take the game by the throat with a 22-2 run and a 49-19 lead heading to the final eight minutes. The Stallions went to a press and forced countless turnovers to hold Clover to a two-point third period.
“We wanted to speed the game up and wear them down for the fourth quarter. That third quarter was probably the best we’ve played all year.”
South Pointe was led by Johnson’s 16 points and Tyreece Brice poured in 15, including three three-pointers.
South Pointe 60, Clover 30
INDIVIDUAL SCORING South Pointe: Pete Bradham 3, Nicholas McCloud 2, Mustafia Love 4, Trayvon Hinton 4, Tony Frazier 6, Tyreece Brice 15, Anthony Johnson 16, Marveon Mobley 6, Montez McCullough 2, Gabe Kirk 2. Clover: Ritwan Pitts 1, John Wilson 2, Aaron Milner 2, Mark Cavanaugh 2, Ladarius Adams 3, Brice Allen 4, Alex Thompson 16.
Team fouls: South Pointe 23, Clover 17.
South Pointe 73, Clover 49: The Stallions used a 27-3 run and a smothering full-court press to pull away and defeat the Blue Eagles. The turnover-fed run spanned the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters and grew a 41-37 advantage to 68-40. The Stallions barely allowed the Blue Eagles to inbound the ball during that stretch.
Clover led 29-27 at the half after finishing on a 6-0 run of its own. Elizabeth Edmunds had nine of her game-high 15 points in the first half for the Blue Eagles, including the three-pointer that put Clover ahead at the break. South Pointe put five players in double figures, led by T’Keia Williams with 14.
South Pointe 73, Clover 49
INDIVIDUAL SCORING South Pointe: Breana Davis 2, Raven Byers 12, Franquia Byers 12, Denisha Hall 11, T’Keia Williams 14, Deiona Davis 8, Isarelle Clark 12, Sasha Barber 2. Clover: Carmen McCarter 2, Mecca Byrd 2, Tellya Patten 12, Sydney Sanders 3, Elizabeth Edmunds 15, Lynsey Comalander 2, Katelyn Kipp 2, Zasu Carpenter 5, Taylor Marneauh 1, Lilly Wallace 5.
Team fouls: South Pointe 24, Clover 22
Technicals: South Pointe bench