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'Little things' lift North Scott boys to win over West
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'Little things' lift North Scott boys to win over West

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ELDRIDGE — Coming into Thursday’s game with a .500 record, North Scott head coach Shamus Budde felt like his team had struggled in several fundamental areas thus far this season.

Those included limiting turnovers, keeping opponents off the offensive boards and making hustle plays.

The Lancers excelled in those areas on Thursday night and came away with a 68-47 Mississippi Athletic Conference victory over visiting Davenport West in The Pit.

“For us to be good, we’ve got to do those little things. And we haven’t done those little things all year,” Budde said. “Those little things are (winning) 50-50 balls, rebounding and limiting our turnovers. I thought we did a good job of that. I thought a lot of our shots were in rhythm and they were uncontested. When we do that, we’re pretty good.”

Senior guard Oliver Hughes drained six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points to lead North Scott (6-5, 5-4 MAC), and he hit several key shots as the Lancers pulled away from the visitors.

West led 20-19 after Jermilyn Gardner hit a pull-up 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the first half, but Hughes sank his second 3-pointer of the game, and then reserve Tyler Watkins got a steal and a layup that put North Scott up 24-20 at the break.

Hughes rattled in a corner 3 to start the second half, and West’s Phearless Caruthers answered with a triple at the other end. But Hughes hit another 3-pointer and then got a layup to extend North Scott’s lead to 32-23.

“We knew we had to come out and punch them in the mouth, and we did that,” Hughes said. “We knew if we could come out strong at the start of the second half, we were going to get it done.”

North Scott center Caden Dewey made a pair of free throws, Kyler Gerardy hit a driving runner, and then Dewey hammered down back-to-back two-handed dunks. Another driving basket by Gerardy pushed the Lancers’ lead to 42-23.

In all, the Lancers went on a 23-3 run in just over five minutes.

West (5-6, 4-5 MAC) was limited to just seven points in the third quarter.

“If you can hold teams to two or three single-digit quarters in a high school basketball game, your chances of winning are pretty good,” Budde said. “Our guys did a good job of getting down and guarding tonight.”

Hughes made six of his 10 3-point attempts on the night.

“I’m definitely getting my shot back. At least I’m trying to,” Hughes said. “My teammates gave me good looks. In-rhythm looks are the easiest shots in the game. They gave me good opportunities.”

Gerardy added 11 points for North Scott, and Watkins finished with 10. Kavon Phillips had eight points to go with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Gardner came off the West bench to score 18 points, and older brother Jermaine Gardner had 10. The Falcons’ leading scorer, NaZion Caruthers, was whistled for three offensive fouls in the contest and fouled out with a season-low three points.

“I think we might have taken more charges in one game than we’ve taken all year combined,” Budde said. “Our kids are starting to show a little more toughness.”

And they’re doing those little things. North Scott out-rebounded the Falcons 31-25 in the contest, and pulled down 10 offensive rebounds to West’s six. The Lancers only turned the ball over five times through the game’s first three quarters. And they forced 14 West turnovers in the contest.

"Our keys were limiting our live-ball turnovers, keeping them off the offensive glass, and then (winning) 50-50 balls, and I thought we were great in all three of those areas tonight,” Budde said.


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