NewBridge Classic: Green Dragons breeze by East
There was no spreading of Christmas cheer Wednesday in the East Davidson locker room after their first round game of the NewBridge Bank Christmas Classic.
A finals participant the last two seasons, the Golden Eagles were out of sync and nowhere near West Davidson much of the evening in a 63-42 lackluster performance at Ledford High School. Tyler Grooms scored 23 points to lead the Green Dragons, who beat Southeast Guilford in the semifinals to advance to Friday’s final against Central Davidson. Matt Johnson was about the only bright spot for the Eagles with 17 points.
“We really struggled tonight and I do not have an explanation,” said coach Matt Jacobs. “That’s as bad as we can possibly be with the exception of Matt Johnson. I guess I should change my priorities and make them practice on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My bad on that.”
Earlier in the day the East girls trounced the Dragons 52-26. Though not all that sharp themselves, the Lady Eagles reeled off a 12-0 run early in the second quarter to break open a tight game. Lori Morgan paced East with 14 points while Madi Hallman contributed 12.
East was dealt a blow in the first few minutes when Taylor Booze exited with his second foul. Still, the Eagles hung around thanks largely in part to offensive woes from both sides. The teams combined for 30 first half points with West ahead 18-12. The scoring accelerated in the third quarter with the lead ballooning to 13 for the boys from Tyro.
The lid was lifted off the basket and the Dragons were off and running on an 11-2 spurt that helped them relax and coast home. Austin Teague and Grooms were the key cogs in the second half as West hit four 3-pointers. Johnson’s triple with a minute to go in the third quarter got East to within 11, but they would come no closer. Another huge run — this one 13-2 — increased the West advantage to 57-33 with 3:43 remaining.
“I think most of the 3s West hit wasn’t even out of their offense,” said Jacobs. “It was out of our not being where we needed to be defensively, not getting the loose balls and not knowing who we were guarding. As good as we’ve been lately on defense, we were that bad today. This group was not ready to play and I will take the blame for that.”
Despite winning by 26, the East girls did not have a performance worth bragging about. They were able to force West into several turnovers, but gave away the ball many times themselves.
The guards of the Dragons could barely get the ball across the timeline in the first quarter as East built up a 14-9 advantage. West had a chance to trim that deficit to one in the second quarter, but managed to hit just one of four free throw attempts.
East’s offense took off with 12 unanswered points to match what would be the final tally for the Dragons. Ariel Grimsley and Hallman knocked down 3-pointers during the run with Jennifer Welborn sinking a pair of jumpshots. Hallman added a drive and layup to go with her 3. The lead was 29-14 at the half and it remained a 14-point margin by the end of the third quarter.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.