Tigers down AdmiralsPublished 12:03am Saturday, February 15, 2014
Straughn beats Bayside Academy 57-39, advances to regionals
To this day, Straughn senior guard JD Driver still remembers watching his cousins help the Tigers beat Geneva in the semifinals of the 2008 Class 3A South Regional at Troy University.
Ever since then, Driver said he’s always wanted to play in the regional.
He, along with the rest of his Tiger teammates, will get the chance to play in the regional next week at Dothan’s Civic Center after they beat Bayside Academy 57-39 on Friday night in the sub-regional at SHS.
“They were the last ones who made it and I’ve always wanted to get there,” Driver said about his cousins and twins, Trent and Trevor. “I always looked up to them. They’ve meant a lot to me.”
Driver was one of three players to finish in double figures on a night where the defense closed out the Admirals’ perimeter attack.
Rollin Kinsaul led SHS with 20 points. Driver had 14, and Brice Scott had 12.
What really made Tigers coach Rusty Andrews happy was how his defense played after establishing a lead in the first half.
“We executed our offense well and got us a little lead,” Andrews said. “What I was most pleased with was our defensive effort, because they have some excellent shooters. We closed out on their shooters and found them.
“We never let them get into a rhythm,” he said. “The thing about teams that shoot threes is that if you ever let them hit one or two or three in a row, it’s like they just get on a run and you can’t stop them.”
That wasn’t the case for the Admirals, especially in the third period, where SHS held the visiting team from Daphne to seven points as it led 41-25 going into the fourth period.
The key in the fourth, Andrews said, was the weakness he found as Bayside Academy started pressing with man to man defense.
“If I can find a mis match, I try to take advantage of it,” he said. “It’s very difficult because all of the teams you play now are so good defensively. That’s the reason I was so happy with my guys tonight. They played on both ends of the floor.”
Straughn’s defensive effort was so good that it held Bayside’s main threat, Spencer Newman, to just 13 points.
With the victory, the sixth-ranked Tigers (20-4) advance to play Daleville, who beat Pike County 63-41 last night, in the semifinals of the regional tournament on Thursday morning at 10:30.
Driver, who plays with a lot of heart, got an early drive on the baseline to give SHS a 5-2 lead early in the first.
Bayside’s Adam Nielsen answered with a 3-pointer to tie it up, but Kinsaul put the Tigers in the lead they’d never give up with an arch shot of his own with more than five ticks to go in the opening period.
The Tigers stayed in the zone scheme defensively for most of the game. The Admirals switched from man to zone in the first and second periods.
Kinsaul almost got an old fashioned three off of an assist from Devin Scott with 3:34 left in the first, but he missed his free throw.
Brice then closed out the first with back-to-back 3-pointers to help put the Tigers ahead 18-11.
Brice got an early drive to the lane, but got the assist to Driver, who laid it in for a 20-13 lead.
The Admirals bounced back with a short 5-0 run after a tip in from Charles Masterson and a good skip pass from Seth Matthews to William Buhl, who drained a trey to cut the game to 20-18.
Kinsaul got a 3-point play with 2:10 left in the first half to push the lead to 26-18 and helped his team finish the second on a 8-0 run for a 28-18 lead at the break.
Matthews started the second half with a 3-pointer before SHS went on another 8-0 run to lead 36-21 on Driver’s two foul shots, Brice’s 3-pointer and Kinsaul’s second 3-point play.
Brice later got a steal and an assist to Kinsaul for an easy score and a 41-25 lead going into the fourth period.
Straughn never wavered in the fourth period, despite missing free throws down the stretch. Bayside got in some good shots in spite of the big deficit.
Tucker Lawless got a baseline run around layup for a 49-34 lead, and Driver got in the last shot of the night on a drive with about 58 seconds left.
Driver said he plays with a lot of passion because it’s what his dad, Jay, tells him to do.
“Ever since I was little, my dad always told me to play my heart out and give it 110 percent all the time,” he said.
Buhl chipped in nine points; Matthews had seven; and Nielsen had six for the Admirals.