Hodgson came into Tuesday’s playoff game against sixth-seeded A.I. du Pont knowing they had to exploit a distinct size advantage it had in the paint.
The third-seeded Silver Eagles did just that as they outrebounded the Tigers at a two-to-one clip en route to a 56-44 victory in the quarterfinals of the DIAA Boys Basketball State Tournament at Glasgow High.
“In practice, we did a lot of drills like boxing out. We knew that coming into the game that we were bigger … so we took advantage of that,” said Matthew Peel, who scored 12 points. “We created a lot of one-shot possessions.”
Hodgson (19-3) was aggressive, using its size advantage throughout the game by getting inside of A.I. du Pont, resulting in a 39-19 rebounding edge. The Silver Eagles’ strong rebounding led to several one-and-done possessions for the Tigers and several second chance opportunities when they had the ball.
Hodgson’s Nicholas Richards was the main beneficiary of its second-chance baskets as he exploited the fact A.I. du Pont didn’t put a man on him while the ball was in the air, racing uncontested to the basket to score on putbacks and tip-ins.
“We just boxed out. We stuck to the fundamentals and boxed out to grab the rebound,” said Richards, who scored a game-high 16 points.
“After a couple of times when I laid back, I saw that they weren’t boxing me out. I went for it and did what I had to do.”
The Tigers held a one-point lead at 12-11 after one quarter, but the Silver Eagles took the lead for good in the second quarter, outscoring A.I. du Pont (16-6) 16-8 to take a 27-20 lead into halftime.
Hodgson’s lead reached 13 points midway through the third quarter, and each time the Tigers tried to get within striking distance, the Eagles made a stop on defense or scored on offense to stop A.I. du Pont’s momentum.
Hodgson maintained its comfortable lead in the second half by employing an aggressive zone defense that put pressure on the Tigers’ shooters, holding them to just one 3-pointer in the second half.
“Our game plan before the game was to take away their threes and given them one shot. … A lot of people think that just because you are playing zone, people will be able to shoot on it,” Silver Eagles coach Ed Sobocinski said.
“We extended our zone out to bother the shooters.”
Braxton Watson scored 12 points to lead A.I. du Pont, with Jeff Bradford adding eight.