LaFAYETTE, Ga. — His team had just given up a 10-point lead in a little over two minutes of playing time in the third quarter, and Glen Hicks had seen enough.
The Dade County High School basketball coach, known for his emotional style, kept his cool during a subsequent timeout Tuesday and told his team to settle down and just play its game. The Wolverines responded with a 13-8 run to end the period and pulled away in the fourth to hold off LaFayette, 85-73.
Dade is 9-1.
"We were giving up too much easy stuff and had gotten away from what we do best -- force the tempo and have them take quick shots," Hicks said. "I thought LaFayette played really hard and they were ready for our run-and-jump style. We managed to regroup there and pulled away late."
Lance Estus and Stefan Edmondson scored all the Ramblers' points during the 12-0 run that caught Hicks' ire, turning a 48-38 Dade lead into a 50-48 deficit. Following the timeout to regroup, Jarrett Page and Clynt Bell hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Bell fed Nick Chitwood for a layup that turned into a three-point play and ended the quarter with a pair of drives and a 61-58 lead.
Two Edmondson free throws to open the final period cut the Dade lead to one, but Bell hit a deep 3-pointer to spark a 12-3 run that was too much for the young Ramblers to overcome. Bell hit another 3 during the spurt and ended it with a drive to stretch the lead to 10.
LaFayette (5-4) did not get closer than eight the rest of the way.
"They beat us pretty good the first time we played, so tonight I told the guys I wanted to see how much we had improved," said LaFayette coach Tommy Swanson, whose team returned only one starter (Estus) from last year's state Sweet 16 team. "They shoot the ball so well, and we just couldn't match that last run."
Bell scored 19 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, while backcourt mate Cole Birchfield added 20 for the game. Page, just getting in to basketball shape after football season, scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
"Page is a sleeping giant and he's just now getting his legs," Hick said. "I told him at halftime that I wanted him to step up, and he did. This is a good win and I'm thrilled to be 9-1 at this point."
Reserve Edmondson led the Ramblers with 21 points, with Tyler Shropshire and Patrick Simmons adding 15 each and Estus contributing 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...