College Hoops: Storm upset defending champion Sandhills
Mathematically eliminated from the regular season championship, Davidson County Community College figures if it cannot win the conference, then they certainly aren’t going to let their rivals have it.
Ranked 10th in the nation coming into Brinkley Gym Wednesday, defending national champion Sandhills Community College needed a victory to remain in possession of first place in Region X. In what has become a heated rivalry, the Storm sent the Flyers back to Southern Pines with a 112-104 loss, creating a tie for the top spot between SCC and Caldwell.
Point guard Ace Chalmers was clutch for the Storm, scoring 13 points in each half to finish with 26. Brandon Davis added 21 points.
“We found a way to beat a really good team,” said Storm coach Matt Ridge. “Hopefully our guys can gain confidence and know that going into the regionals we can play at a high level.”
The game had blowout written all over it the first five minutes as the Flyers punched Davidson in the mouth with a 19-8 run. Once the nerves calmed, DCCC reeled off a 13-2 run to draw even on a Davis backdoor layup. DCCC led by four on three separate occasions including 50-46 at the half.
Neither team could get much separation with Michael Cuthbertson tying the game at 80 apiece with a little under nine minutes left. That would be the final of 11 ties, as Chalmers drained a 3-pointer to put DCCC ahead to stay. Sandhills stayed close and trailed by one following a 3-ball from Issac Lyerly. But Robert Story, who shot 0-for-8 in the first half, hit consecutive 3-pointers to open up a seven-point lead. It reached double digits when Chalmers found Davis on another backdoor layup, followed by a theft and layup from Chalmers to make it 95-84.
Sandhills tried to chip away at the lead, but Chalmers made sure they could not make a full comeback. He scored eight points down the stretch to help earn the upset.
“We were up six points with about four minutes to go, and that is enough time for anybody to come back,” said Chalmers. “We just had to take care of the ball and hit free throws.”
DCCC (20-6) had Story finish with 19 points, while Brandon Brown and Cory Burnette each added 11 and Daniel Lawson had 10.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.