Prep Hoops: McElveen lifts Bulldogs to win over West
Thomasville's boys made life quite tough on themselves in the fourth quarter of Friday's home Central Carolina Conference opener.
Missing 10 of their last 12 free throw attempts, the Bulldogs kept hope alive for a West Davidson team that just kept hanging around. B.J. McElveen stepped up in a big way when the free tosses were not falling, scoring seven of his game-high 20 points in the final stanza to help THS survive 56-53. Cedric Green chipped in with 15 points for the 4-6, 1-0 Bulldogs.
“We sure didn't make it easy for ourselves,” said head coach Gil Maxwell. “It was a hard fought ballgame. Last game we were like 22-of-25 and this game they just did not drop. But hey, a 'W' is a 'W' and you take it.”
Thomasville used an 11-2 run midway through the third quarter to turn a 28-28 tie into a lead of nine. A resilient bunch from Tyro, West began to figure out the press of the Bulldogs. It resulted in a nice 7-0 spurt to close out the period and make it a tight game once more with THS clinging to a 41-39 lead.
“We made a run but West showed how well they are coached and battled their way back into it,” said Maxwell. “At times we pressed in terms of wanting to do good and let them back in.”
Quiet for much of the night, West star Tyler Grooms helped in other ways, becoming a centerpiece for breaking the press that resulted in points for teammates. In the fourth quarter he became more of a scoring threat and helped get the visitors the lead back. He scored five straight points with 6:54 to play, giving WDHS its first lead since the 2:50 mark of the second quarter. A baseline jumper from Carson Beane pushed the lead to four, but the Bulldogs came right back.
Still down one with 3 minutes left, Thomasville fed the hot hand in McElveen. He dropped in a floater in the lane then pushed the ball up the floor following a turnover for a deuce. The 3-point lead lasted all of 12 seconds. Zach Queen buried a 3-pointer for West to knot the score at 53 apiece.
McElveen again came with the goods, knocking down a deep jumper to put his team out in front.
West got in its own way in the final seconds, turning the ball over twice. The struggles at the line continued for the Bulldogs, but McElveen did manage to get one to fall with 10 seconds left.
Needing a 3 to tie, Grooms tried to clear space for a shot. During his efforts, he was called for a walk with .4 left, ending any shot for a comeback.
“We are certainly battle tested because right now we are not making life easy for ourselves,” Maxwell said. “We played hard and played to the end and I am proud of that. If we continue to do that, then hopefully more good things will happen than bad. Half the conference is 1-0 and the other half is 0-1. It is nice to be on the upper side. We just have to keep working to make progress.”
Lady Bulldogs roll
While the Thomasville boys had their game decided late, the Lady Bulldogs had it all wrapped up after one quarter of play.
An 11-0 run to start the night set the tone for the remainder of the evening, as THS cruised 55-19 over the Lady Dragons.
Christina Coleman scored the first four points of the game before Shania Wilder scored on a putback. A steal by Jashana Thomas turned into a layup for Coleman, who buried a 3-pointer a minute later for an 11-0 start.
West broke up the run with its first bucket at the 3:08 mark, but an 8-1 run had the Lady 'Dogs up by 16 at quarter's end. Thomasville (8-1, 1-0) would take a 35-7 lead into the half.
Coleman finished with 14 points and Thomas had 11 for THS.