Hornets’ pressure cracks Rebels
AIKEN BOYS 58, STROM THURMOND 42
By Scott Rodgers
JOHNSTON — For the second time in a week, the Aiken boys’ basketball team had to fend off a strong effort from Strom Thurmond. The Hornets (4-1) were able to escape, though the game got interesting in the second half.
“That’s a very athletic team,” Aiken head coach Tony Harrell said. “They can get up and down the court in a hurry. We wanted to try and pack it in and force them to shoot outside shots and not get layups. We felt like if we could control the paint and rebound the ball, we would have a good chance to hold them down.”
Strom Thurmond (2-3) had success pressuring Aiken. The aggressive play started toward the end of the first half, though it didn’t work out initially. The Rebels had a turnover at the end of the half that Jordan Habersham took coast-to-coast for a layup to break the momentum that Strom Thurmond had been building. The Hornet lead had shrunk to two within the quarter before Aiken opened it up.
That didn’t deter the Rebels, however, as they came out once again with a press. Seemingly every pass the Hornets tried to make ended up being deflected to a Rebel or out of bounds.
“They pressured us a little bit, and we didn’t attack their pressure, and we were hesitant against it,” Harrell said. “We were able to finally score and threw some pressure back at them, and it sealed the game for us.”
Aiken saw its lead dwindle to seven before it got a traditional three-point play by Shawn Moore. Moore ended up missing the free throw before Deon Hicks put back a rebound for another two points. Following that exchange, the Hornets turned the tables and started pressing the Rebels, who were able to get a quick score before calling a timeout.
“It rattled us, and we weren’t expecting it that late in the game,” Strom Thurmond head coach Bo Rouse said. “Aiken has got a good club; they’re going to go a long way. We felt like we had a chance of beating them here, and we had them. I told the guys during the half that if we kept it close, we had a chance, but they came out in the third quarter and boom, the lead was 16 points. We battled back; I’m proud of the kids, and they played hard.”
Following that timeout, Daquarius Johnson had a costly turnover which gave Aiken the opportunity to stretch its lead back to double digits.
“We turned the ball over 22 times, and you can’t win like that,” Rouse said.
Moore once again led the Hornets, this time with a 22-point effort. It was his defense, though, that had his coach raving.
“I was more pleased with Shawn on the defensive side tonight,” Harrell said. “He had a lot of steals, a lot of tipped passes. Offensively, his shot wasn’t on like it has been all year, but he did a great job on the defensive end and rebounding for us.”
Strom Thurmond will look to get back to .500 tonight at Ridge Spring-Monetta. Aiken will next play on Friday at Spring Valley.
AHS 9 17 15 17 – 58
STHS 7 12 10 13 – 42
AHS (4-1)— Shawn Moore 8 4-10 22, Dramel Coleman 5 0-0 10, Ryan McKie 3 3-4 9, Stacy Toole 3 1-4 7, Jordan Habersham 2 0-0 4, Deon Hicks 1 2-2 4, John Besson 1 0-2 2. Totals 23 10-22 58.
3 pointers—Moore (2)
STHS (2-3)—Daquarius Johnson 7 1-3 16, JaSergio Kennion 2 6-10 10, Ty Brooks 2 1-3 5, Jaylan Robinson 2 0-2 4, Baylor Jones 1 2-2 4, Josh Hamilton 1 0-1 2, Deontrez Mealing 0 1-2 1. Totals: 15 11-23 42.
AIKEN GIRLS 61, STROM THURMOND 28
The Lady Hornets picked up a victory on Tuesday night in convincing fashion over the Lady Rebels.
Aiken (5-2) got a complete team effort, with four players scoring in double digits. Rebekah Muir led the effort with 13 points, including four 3-pointers. Alexis Odom and Erin Gilmore both had 11, while Monique Tyler had 10 points of her own. It was the second time that the Lady Hornets beat the Lady Rebels (2-3) in a week, which bookended their victory over Saluda on Friday night.
“It was our pressure defense again,” Aiken head coach Aubrey Pompey said. “It gets us in transition, we get easy buckets and it gets us going. That’s basically how we’ve been playing so far, so the script was pretty much the same. Our inside play was a little bit better, but overall it was a fairly good effort from everybody.”
Aiken set the tone early, scoring 42 points in the first half, including 27 in the second quarter. The Lady Hornets’ pressure once again frustrated the Lady Rebels, who had trouble even getting beyond half court. “One of the things we’ve been working on is our perimeter 3-point shooting,” Pompey said. “I know with the slashers that we have that once we penetrated, the kick out is there. Rebekah did an excellent job tonight knocking down that shot. Hopefully we’ll keep working and get better at it.”
The Lady Hornets will hit the road on Friday night to play Spring Valley at 6 p.m. The Lady Rebels will look to even their record tonight against Ridge Spring-Monetta, a team that they beat in their home opener two weeks ago.
AHS 15 27 14 5 – 61
STHS 8 10 5 5 – 28
AHS (5-2)—Rebekah Muir 4 1-2 13, Alexis Odom 5 1-2 11, Erin Gilmore 5 1-2 11, Monique Tyler 5 0-0 10, Destiny Richardson 2 0-0 4, Jay Graham 2 0-0 4, Maggie Odom 1 0-0 3, Kim Vinson 1 0-0 2, Autriauna Ingram 1 0-0 2, Sophie Nance 0 1-2 1. Totals: 26 4-8 61.
3-pointers—Muir (4), Maggie Odom.
STHS (2-3)—McKayla Griffin 3 4-6 10, Jasmine Mealing 2 0-06, Shay Widner 2 1-2 5, Shakyra Martin 1 2-3 4, Chesnee Robinson 1 0-0 3, Ebony Robinson 0 0-1 0. Totals: 9 7-12 28.
Scott Rodgers is a graduate of Alvernia University and a staff writer at the Aiken Standard.