College Hoops: Storm pick up road win at rival Sandhills
Davidson County Community College basketball coach Matt Ridge has delivered some inspirational halftime speeches during his days as head man of the Storm. The one he gave his team Wednesday night might be his best yet.
Down six at the half and up against a significantly taller Sandhills team, DCCC played inspired basketball second half. They erupted for 60 points, keeping the Flyers' frontcourt in check en route to a rousing 102-92 road win over their biggest Region X rivals. Davidson (13-3) is 3-1 in the league standings and the Flyers (12-6) are 1-1.
“Anytime Davidson and Sandhills plays, it is going to be a war and tonight was no different,” said Ridge. “At halftime I challenged the guys and they stepped up.”
Averaging 6-6 at each position in the post, the Flyers were using their height advantage to the fullest. It helped them build a 48-42 halftime lead.
“They were much bigger than us and the first half they did a great job of exploiting that,” Ridge said. “We did a poor job of getting around them in the post and getting on the help side.”
DCCC needed only two minutes to get back within one, and eventually drew even at 54-54 on Gerry Hairston's 3-pointer.
Remaining tied at 69 apiece with just under 10 minutes left, the Storm tossed together a 9-0 run that created just enough separation. C.J. Woodberry attacked the rim for a layup, followed by a pair of successful pitches at the free throw line by Daniel Lawson. A technical was called on Sandhills forward Jalyn Riley leading to two more made free throws by Robert Story, then Hairston cut to receive an inbound pass for a layup. When Ace Chalmers made the second of two free throws, Davidson had built a 78-69 lead.
Sandhills never could get the deficit under seven the rest of the way. The Storm were 10-for-10 at the charity stripe in the final 1:30.
“Offensively second half we shared the ball and found our shooters,” said Ridge. “When we got fouled late, our guys stepped to the line and knocked them down.”
Davidson sits atop of the conference standings with every team in the league now having at least one loss. The lone setback for the Storm came against Caldwell, who was recently defeated by the Flyers.
“This win is going to mean nothing unless we are ready to play mentally in the next one,” said Ridge. “But when you go into Sandhills in a hostile environment and come out with a win, that should give us confidence.”
Notes: Woodberry had another impressive showing with a 24-point, nine rebound performance … Lawson added 20 points, Story 18, Hairston 16 and Chalmers 11 … Lawson received high praise from Ridge, giving up six inches to his opponents but battling for eight big rebounds.