Before basketball practice on Thursday the Sandhills Flyers watched a movie that must have made quite an impression.
"We had a big-time meeting after the Patrick Henry game," Flyers' coach Mike Apple said, referring to a loss on Wednesday when the team fell behind early in what turned into a 97-92 loss. "We watched film for about an hour and half and saw a lot of things we weren't doing correctly.
"The biggest thing was our preparation for the game was lacking. A lot of people think the pre-game warm-up is a time to show off, but it's a time to physically and mentally prepare for the game. We put some rules in. You don't see us dunking anymore."
Following on Friday's lopsided win at home over West Georgia Tech, the Flyers roared out of the gate at Central Carolina CC on Sunday afternoon. Establishing an inside superiority early, 6-foot-6 Shane Garrison muscled his way inside to score the first two baskets on the way to a 15-1 lead before the Cougars made their first field goal.
The Flyers, now 12-2 overall and 3-0 in Region X, led 50-27 at halftime. The margin topped out at 43 points in the second half of the eventual 116-83 victory that saw the Cougars drop to 8-7 and 1-2.
Parrish Stevens scored 19 points and made eight of his nine shots from the field. 6-8 Mason Harrell added 17 along with a team-high nine rebounds. Also taking advantage of the smaller Cougars inside were 6-4 Juwaan Childs with 11 points and 6-6 Luke Moore with 10. Garrison was 4-for-4 from the field with eight points, making the Flyer big-men a combined 28-for-39 (72 per cent).
Morrissette-Barnett didn't need the reminder, but he saw something early in the film session of the Patrick Henry game that made him wince.
"I started out by making the first turnover," he said. "I just try to come out aggressive each game and help build everybody up. I didn't think my man could burn me or guard me today so we were just getting in the lane and finishing or kicking it out."
The freshman wing linked up with Moore twice, and also Harrell and Garrison, for four of his five first-half assists. Twice Childs finished his own miss as the Flyers racked up 10 second chance points before the break.
Stevons helped the Flyers pour it on in the first five minutes of the second half with a basket off a steal, a baseline drive, a basket in transition and a three that added up to a 22-7 run a and a 72-34 lead. Moments later the Flyers' bench arose as Child's drained his second trey of the season from above the top of the key in transition, making it 83-42.
"We practice that shot and Juwaan didn't hesitate and knocked it down," his coach said.
The Flyers have one more game before the holiday break at home on Saturday at 3 p.m. against USC-Salkehatchie. Childs, a sophomore, recalled last December's contest played in South Carolina.
"We lost by three in overtime (99-96) so some of us that are returnees remember it," he said. "We are going to come out playing hard on Saturday. It would definitely be a good thing to finish on a positive note."
Flyers Extra – Stevons leads the team with an average of 15.1 points per game. Other stat leaders are Harrell in rebounds (8.1) and blocks (2.4), Morrissette-Barnett, assists (3.5) and Donnie Haith, steals (2.1). Led by Garrison (65.9) and Harrell (58.2), seven Flyers have made 50 per cent or more of their field goal attempts. The team is 14th in Division III in that department (49.8 per cent).
Sandhills – Stevons 8 0-0 19, Garrison 4 0-0 8, Harrell 8 1-1 17, Haith 2 3-4 7, Morrissette-Barnett 6 1-2 14, Childs 4 2-4 11, Sexton 3 1-1 7, Moore 5 0-0 10, Peterson 1 2-2 5, McFadden 1 0-0 2, Grissett 1 0-0 2, Clarkson 2 0-0 5, Merriweather 2 2-2 7, McCrimmon 0 2-2 2, Copeland 0 0-0 0, Murdock 0 0-0 0 Totals 47 14-20 116. Central Carolina – Thompson 8 5-8 23, M. Brown 7 2-2 20, Wilson 5 0-1 11, Matangira 0 2-2 2, T. Brown 6 0-1 12, George 1 1-6 3, North 2 2-2 8, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Monroe 1 0-0 2, Jeffries 0 0-0 0 Totals 31 12-23 83. Three-point goals: SCC 8 (Stevons 3, Morrissette-Barnett, Childs, Peterson, Clarkson, Merriweather); CCCC 9 (M. Brown(4), Thompson 2, North 2, Wilson).
by Charlie Bergman
photo by Donna Ford