Saturday, December 28, 2013
The Wando Warriors shook off some early holiday rust to take down the Porter-Gaud Cyclones 65-53 Friday in the opening round of the Rotary Roundball Classic at North Charleston High School.
Wando (9-1) erased a seven-point halftime deficit with a 40-point second half. After allowing Porter-Gaud (6-3) 32 points on 40 percent shooting in the first half, Wando limited the Cyclones to 21 points on just 31 percent shooting in the second.
The Warriors held a two-point lead with five minutes to play and closed the game on a 15-5 run to stay alive in the top half of the Rotary International Bracket.
“We're only a great defensive team when we make ourselves hungry for it,” Wando head coach David Eaton said. “X's and O's wise, we didn't change anything. We knew we could play better, and in the second half, we were hungry for it.”
K.J. James led the Cyclones charge early, scoring 23 of his game-high 36 points in the first half. James did everything for the Cyclones from scoring to facilitating, from the perimeter to the post, against several different defenders. Wando turned up its defensive pressure in the second half, attacking the Cyclones guards to keep the ball away from James and limiting them to single-shot opportunities.
“In the first half, they did a great job of sending him off of single and double screens and we lack help defense on screens, which made him even harder to defend,” Wando forward Jamez Rogers said. “We brought more intensity in the second half and pressure the ball really well to slow them down.”
Without their star's scoring, the Cyclones offense fizzled out, opening the door for the Warriors' second-half surge. Wando started the half on an 8-2 run. Back-to-back threes from Andrew Glover and Rogers, six minutes in, gave the Warriors their first lead since the 12-minute mark of the first half. Porter-Gaud reclaimed a one-point advantage but Amp Moore answered with five straight points and the Warriors never trailed again.
Wando shot 48 percent from the field and 56 percent from three in the second half after managing just 36 from the field and 25 from three in the first. Wando outrebounded Porter-Gaud 44-26 and scored 20 points off second-chance opportunities while allowing nine. Center Matt Pegram scored 10 of his 15 points after the break and finished with eight rebounds. Rogers scored with 17 points, Moore 13 and Glover 6.
“We drove more in the second half and decided to stop settling for jumpers,” Rogers said. “We looked inside for Matt and that made our offense run smooth.”
“That was some mature basketball, to get those stops at the end,” Eaton added. ”Now we need to start thinking that way for 32 minutes.”
Porter-Gaud forward Matthew Preddy scored 11 with nine rebounds and was the only Cyclone, besides James, that scored more than three points.
Wando advances to face St. John's College High (Washington, D.C.) at 7 p.m. Porter-Gaud falls into the consolation bracket against North Charleston at 1 p.m. Follow @fjmansfield //