DUBLIN — In order to help the West Bladen boy’s basketball team be as successful as possible this season, Travis Pait is turning to a system made famous by one of his counterparts in the college ranks.
For years, Dave Davis, the current men’s basketball coach at Newberry College, has had his teams change “lines” — like in hockey — by substituting five players for five players every three or four minutes, playing at a break-neck speed.
The system is about applying full-court pressure on defense with a drive-it-down-your-throat mentality on offense in a effort to wear down opponents.
It’s a method of all-out intensity and effort that makes perspiration perspire.
“That’s the style (Davis) plays,” Pait said. “If we do that we can compete with anybody.”
On Wednesday night in the opening round of the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament, West Bladen used “the system” to outlast Dillon, 64-59.
Davis will often say that he doesn’t have starters, he has “enders.”
Trailing by five points with four minutes left in the final period, the Knights closed the game with a 12-2 run to secure a spot in Thursday’s 8 p.m. semifinal against Scotland.
“Coach Davis tells you all the time that you’ll see with the the way we play, the last four minutes makes the difference,” Pait said. “When it was close like it was with four minutes left, I felt good.”
Freshman Shyron Adams scored 10 of his team-best 16 points in the second half to pace West Bladen. Adams capped a 12-0 run with 20 seconds left to secure the victory for the Knights, who led by two points at the half.
“The plays he made defensively — not just all of the steals — he caused a lot of turnovers he didn’t get credit for,” Pait said of Adams. “I think he converted every time he had an opportunity in the open court.”
Darius Boatwright, who scored a game-high 23 points for Dillon, made a basket with four minutes left to give the Wildcats a 57-52 lead. Dillon didn’t score again until Boatwright made a layup with 2.5 seconds left for the final tally.
“We’ve got 10 starters and we always talk about that,” Pait said. We had Kerron (Washington) come in from outside of the top 10 to contribute. Jackson Norris came in and gave me an unbelievable four minutes. Trenton (Lyons) came in with some good minutes. Jaheim (Lesane) came from the corner spot to the top spot, which is where all of the ball-handling duties are, and contributed.”
West Bladen, which is looking to defend its title in the event, made eight 3-pointers on the night and forced 20-plus turnovers.
“That was a lot of fun,” Pait said.
McKenney leads South Brunswick past Whiteville
Behind a stellar shooting performance from Jace McKenney, South Brunswick earned a 65-51 win over Whiteville on Wednesday.
McKenney scored 19 of his game-high 32 points in the first half to pace the Cougars, who used a 23-point third quarter to take a commanding lead against the Wolfpack.
McKenney knocked down four 3-pointers and helped South Brunswick jump out to an 11-0 lead in the opening quarter.
Behind the play of Tyjuan Anderson, Whiteville responded with a 22-point second period, using a 12-0 run to trim the lead. Anderson scored 10 of his team-best 22 points in the second quarter.
He drained a trio of 3-pointers and 11 free throws for the Wolfpack, which trailed 31-25 at the half.
South Brunswick led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter en route to earning a semifinal berth against Clinton.
Clinton routs East Bladen
Clinton came out fast and finished strong in its 75-37 win over East Bladen in the opening round of the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament on Wednesday.
The Dark Horses used a 29-point explosion in the first quarter to build a healthy margin taking a 43-17 lead into the locker room.
Kris Williams finished with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers to lead Clinton, which outscored East Bladen 25-6 in the third period. Kahari Williams added 11 points for the Dark Horses.
Javant McDowell tallied 12 points for the Eagles, who logged double-digit scoring in just one period. East Bladen scored eight points in the first quarter, nine in the second, six in the third and 14 points in the final quarter.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.