Head coach Glenn Patterson expected his team to be a little slow in transition but didn’t envision sloppy ball-handling and ill-timed passes throughout.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball and you can’t win doing things like that,” Patterson quipped.
Backed by Deiontae' McMillian’s game-high 34 points, Gray’s Creek topped Red Springs for the third consecutive meeting in runaway fashion, 97-58. There's no time to rest for a team with limited practice time as the Red Devils travel to Pembroke tonight before hosting unbeaten South View on Friday.
“We’re going to be okay, man,” Patterson said. “It’s early and we’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re going to be fine.”
Ten days removed from a third-round football loss at James Kenan, it was evident from the start against the Bears that Red Springs was short-handed against a squad heavy on camaraderie and depth.
Numerous turnovers in the opening half led to uncontested baskets on the fast-break and routine trips to the line for Gray’s Creek. The Bears shot 26 free throws before intermission and held a clear rebounding advantage on the boards. By the break, the Red Devils faced a 55-36 deficit.
That margin swelled to 30 at the 3:05 mark of the third quarter after Gray’s Creek went on a slam dunk tear, rattling the rim fives times during a 12-point spurt. McMillian scored six easy points during the stretch, each time beating a tired defense along the baseline for a layup.
On the offensive end, Red Springs never found its rhythm despite getting a 14-point, eight-rebound effort from senior forward Quinn Lowery. Sophomore big man Dwayne Fairley made a handful of second-chance shots and a nifty turnaround jumper en route to 10 points in his first varsity start.
Red Springs played without starting guards Jameson Baker and Corey Okonkwo who dressed out but didn’t play after missing a recent practice. They're expected to play tonight against Purnell Swett.
“We had to put some people in places they aren't used to playing at and that really hurt us,” Patterson said.
Sinclair captures first win as Lady Devils' coach
With an uptempo offense indicative of Red Springs girls basketball of the past, the Lady Red Devils won their season opener Tuesday under first-year coach Steve Sinclair, beating Gray's Creek with a frenetic pace, 67-54.
Leading the way with 24 points was preseason all-county guard Robyn McPhaul who also collected eight rebounds and eight assists.
BOYS: Gray's Creek 97, Red Springs 58
RS 15 21 11 11 — 58; GC 28 27 24 18 — 97
Red Springs — Quinn Lowery 16, Dwayne Fairley 10, James Chavis 10, J. McLaurin 5, Leach 5, McClain 4, McGeachey 3, Jones 3, S. McLaurin 2; Gray’s Creek — Deiontae' McMillian 34, DJ Geathers 14, Darius Freeman 10, Jeff Gibson 9, Morning 9, Wright 7, Washington 8, McDowell 6; 3-Point Goals — RS: Leach. GC: McMillian 4, Wright, Geathers; Technicals — GC: Gibson; Records — Gray’s Creek 1-0, Red Springs 0-1.
GIRLS: Red Springs 67, Gray's Creek 54
Highlights — Red Springs point guard nearly had a triple-double with 24 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Teammates Jasmine Murchison and Shantana Norris chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively; Records — Red Springs 1-0, Gray’s Creek 0-1.