Straughn ends season at regionals

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2014

Straughn's JD Driver drives to the basket Thursday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s JD Driver drives to the basket Thursday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

DOTHAN — Straughn didn’t play its brand of basketball early and paid for it in a 48-31 season-ending loss to Daleville Thursday in the semifinals of the boys Class 3A South Regional.

DHS led 19-12 after the first period and outscored the Tigers 12-4 in the second to take a 31-16 lead at halftime.

The Tigers’ big problem was shooting. SHS was 22 percent from the 3-point range, and 28 percent from the field.

“Today, we didn’t start off playing our style of basketball,” SHS junior guard Rollin Kinsaul said. “We kind of got in a running game with them. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we wanted to. When we did have layup opportunities, we missed them.”

SHS held an early 6-2 lead after 3-pointers from senior guard JD Driver and junior guard Brice Scott.

DHS came back with a 3-pointer and a layup from Robert McGirt, and another layup from Darwin Mason for a 9-6 lead.

Kinsaul tied the game at 9-all on a 3-pointer, but the Warhawks used their athleticism and quickness to take over from there.

In the end, Daleville’s press was what really got SHS out of its rhythm offensively, Tigers coach Rusty Andrews said.

“Daleville did a very good job of pushing us out of our offense,” Andrews said. “We didn’t do a real good job of setting up our corner (to drive the baseline).

“They more or less tripled us (in rebounds),” he said. “You’re not going to beat anybody if you don’t rebound the basketball.”

DHS won the rebound war over Straughn, 38-14.

Driver found a lane in the second period to get it to 23-14 with 5:07 left in the first half, and Kinsaul got a drive in with 2:57 on the clock.

The Warhawks ended the first half on a 6-0 run.

SHS bounced back in the third to outscore DHS 7-6 by getting the ball inside. Tucker Lawless got an easy basket and Kinsaul made a drive to the lane cut the lead to 35-20.

Nick Stepp, a senior who got to see little playing time because of an injury, made a free throw and Driver got a good assist to Kinsaul for two at the buzzer to end the third with DHS leading 37-23.

Daleville’s Jaylyn Hinton got a drive to the bucket for a 39-26 advantage. The Warhawks kept up the defensive pressure and on a fast break, Zakeiyus Hayes made a dunk off of a McGirt assist to essentially put the game away for SHS.

The Tigers didn’t quit late as Driver made one last 3-pointer to get it to 46-29 with two minutes left.

“It’s been a great year,” Driver said. “I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”

Driver led SHS with 10 points. Kinsaul chipped in nine and Scott had six.

McGirt and Aaron Cope led DHS with 19 and 11, respectively.

SHS ends its season 20-5.

Andrews said that he couldn’t be more proud of his boys.

“These young men have worked hard,” he said. “JD Driver and our four other seniors — they had built Straughn basketball back to what it’s supposed to be, and hopefully we’re going to keep it there for a while.”