Bulldogs best Blue Streaks
Allen Moody | Highlands TodaySEBRING - If the Sebring Blue Streaks had made their free throws, Saturday's championship game of the Taveniere Tournament could have been a real nail-biter.
Published: December 31, 2012
Published: December 31, 2012
If the DeSoto Bulldogs had made theirs, it could have been a runaway.
Neither one happened, but it was the Bulldogs who took home the championship trophy with a 57-47 victory.
Foul shooting, a season-long nemesis of the Blue Streaks, once again reared its ugly head, as the Blue Streaks were just 14-for-32 from the charity stripe. That was slightly better than DeSoto, however, as the Bulldogs were just 11-for-29.
"It was very ugly," said Sebring coach Princeton Harris.
The Blue Streaks played with the lead in the early going. Gary Demerest scored back-to-back baskets off assists from Decaris Jones and Terrell Williams to give Sebring an early 6-2 lead. After the Bulldogs knotted the score, Jones scored five straight points to give the Blue Streaks an 11-6 lead after the first quarter.
Sebring pushed its lead to 17-9 midway through the second quarter, only to see the Bulldogs take the lead with a 9-0 run that was fueled by some turnovers that led to easy baskets for DeSoto.
The teams played even for the remainder of the half, as DeSoto led 26-24 at the break.
Luke Ancrum's 3-point play to start the second half gave the Blue Streaks a brief 27-26 lead, but it would be the last time Sebring was in front. An 8-1 DeSoto run put the Bulldogs in front for good, as Sebring struggled with the press.
"We're used to the press and they really didn't put much pressure on us," Harris said. "We were just rushing ourselves and being very impatient. When we're patient we can break the press very easily. We broke the press early on, but at the end of the second quarter and in the second half we weren't doing the same things that we broke the press with. That's just youth."
The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 47-33 in the fourth quarter, but could never quite put the Blue Streaks away. DeSoto left the door open for Sebring to get right back in the hunt, starting the quarter a dismal 1-for-13 from the foul line, but the Blue Streaks weren't much better, going 4-for-12 in the quarter.
The Blue Streaks got within eight points on a 3-pointer by Jones, but that would be it.
Jones led the Blue Streaks with 16 points, while Demerest added seven and Quantrae Rouse tallied six. Ancrum and Conner Cook scored five points each and Josh Austin scored four. Jones, Demerest and Austin were named to the all-tournament team.
Even with the loss, Harris said it was a decent tournament for the team, which saw the Blue Streaks post solid wins over Avon Park and Frostproof to advance to the championship game.
"I saw some strides in this tournament and we're getting better and that's all I can ask them to do," he said. "Not a bad three days at all. We've gotten better and we're going to continue to get better."
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