BRHS downs Central-Coosa, 65-56Published 6:14pm Saturday, February 1, 2014
The Benjamin Russell Wildcats and Central – Coosa County Cougars matched each other step for step on the hardwood for two and a half quarters.Then, Ronnie Stacy asserted himself by scoring and facilitating to key an eventual 65-56 victory in favor of the Wildcats.
BRHS improved to 14-8 on the season (4-2 in area). The Wildcats looked poised for a dominating victory in the third quarter, as their press defense forced several miscues by Central-Coosa.
The Wildcats converted those errors into a scoring run that spread across the third and fourth quarters. While Central-Coosa kept the game in reach in the third, the Cougars didn’t have such luck in the final quarter, as Benjamin Russell opened the fourth on a 16-2 run to go up 60-42.
“We were right there, but in the third quarter we had a bad run where we made seven turnovers in a row,” Cougars basketball coach Joe Belyeu said. “That was the turning point right there. When they got up by 18, that was pretty much it. We put some pressure on them, but we ran out of gas. I can’t complain about the effort; we played hard, but we didn’t play smart. We made way too many turnovers. I think we had 20-plus in that category.”
The Cougars roared back thanks to Tyus Maxwell and Tre Royal, as Central – Coosa cut the deficit to nine. The Wildcats was able to ward the Cougars off, but BRHS coach Jeff Hines wasn’t pleased with the team giving up half of its late-game lead.
“I’m not sure that we played well enough in our half-court sets to win the game, and that’s a credit to Coach Belyeu and his guys,” BRHS boys basketbal coach Jeff Hines said. “I told my guys after the game that if it’s like this over the next couple games, we’re going to have a hard time advancing to where we want to go. We’ve been in a situation before where we have our foot on the throat, but we have to push it down. We didn’t do that tonight. We wanted to play our A-game tonight because this is the time of year where you want to be playing your best basketball.”
Stacy and Leonard were the pace-setters for the Wildcats. Leonard scored six of his 13 points in the final stanza.
“Dijon did an outstanding job,” Hines said. “I thought he played one of his better games of the season.”
Stacy was all over the stat sheet, scoring a game-high 26 points, grabbing ten boards, dishing out seven assists and swiping seven steals.
Benjamin Russell’s regular-season finale is a Monday night home-stand with Chilton County.