Red Bank's boys did something throughout the entire second half that they managed to do only once in the first half, and that was own the lead.
When Xavier Cummings scored inside with 26 seconds remaining in the first half, the Lions led for the first time. And they never trailed host Arts & Sciences again on the way to a 61-54 victory in a first-round game Wednesday in the Times Free Press Best of Preps basketball tournament.
Once the scoring started, the game was tied three times in the first quarter -- the last at 14. CSAS led by as much as nine, 26-17, before the Lions began to arise in the final two and a half minutes of the second quarter.
"We made some poor decisions and they benefitted from it," CSAS coach Mark Dragoo said.
The Patriots were fortunate to be within 49-43 at the end of the third quarter, considering Red Bank scored on 11 possessions that period compared to their six. Four of CSAS's five baskets were from 3-point distance and the other was part of a three-point play. Dragoo said 3-point shots are not necessarily a big part of the Patriots' game.
"We're trying to make good shots a part of our game," he said.
Many of the Lions' second-half baskets were from underneath by players who found openings in the back of the defense.
"You've got to be able to see the floor," Red Bank coach Corey Lazenby said. "When guys are up in empty spots, you've got to make the pass. I told my guys it seems like they like to take a lot charges, so when you penetrate in there, dump it off. Don't even try to finish."
Fred Matthews led the Lions with 18 points. Niquia McDuffie and Cummings scored 14 each and Deres Benn added 11.
Frank Brogdon led CSAS with 15 points, JaVaughn Craig scored 11 and they teamed for five 3-point goals. Jonathan Kurtz contributed 10 points.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.