Going into the paint and facing Gonda Ameri, Darrell Haralson and Mykale Repress was an impossible mission for Stewarts Creek Friday night.
The trio dominated the paint, scored 33 points and played impenetrable defense as Smyrna defeated the Red Hawks 61-46 in a District 7-AAA battle.
Ameri scored 16 and grabbed nine rebounds, Haralson scored 10 points and pulled in nine rebounds and Repress scored seven with five rebounds in the win, which ended a six-game losing streak for the Bulldogs.
“We really put it on our bigs’ backs tonight,” Smyrna coach Brian Turner said. “Our guards did a great job of driving and kicking it to our bigs. Our bigs posted up and finally were going to the rim. Being able to play down there is a good feeling. Three bigs being successful tonight, it was a nice night.”
Turner was pleased with the performance from Repress, who had struggled in recent games.
“Repress is that guy who’s always steady. He just goes in and plays as hard as he can. I’m so proud of that kid, he’s a junior, and he’s made such big (progress).”
Every time the host Red Hawks tried to go into the paint, one of the three was there to get a hand up, forcing Stewarts Creek to alter its shots. The Red Hawks started out the game 1-of-17 from the field because of Smyrna’s length and size on the inside.
Even layups were a challenge.
“When you’re scared, you can’t do nothing,” Stewarts Creek coach Arnett Bodenhamer said. “When you’re scared, the circle (of the rim) looks like a dime. You can’t get a basketball through a dime, and when you’re scared, that’s what happens. So the wide-open layups we (got), we (made) it tough on us.”
Due to the poor shooting, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-4 lead to start the game and led 20-8 early in the second quarter.
Stewarts Creek (7-15, 0-8 7-AAA) had its only run of the game to cut the gap back to seven at 22-15 but Smyrna (10-10, 3-5 7-AAA) answered by outscoring the Red Hawks 7-4 to take a 29-19 halftime lead. The Bulldogs never trailed by fewer than 10 the rest of the game.
“It was nice to see the boys pull together,” Turner said.
Smyrna girls 61, Stewarts Creek 41: The Lady Bulldogs (16-7, 4-4 7-AAA) broke open a close game with a 10-1 run in the second quarter. Smyrna led 16-14 when Smyrna went on the run, and that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 26-15 lead.
Smyrna outscored Stewarts Creek 17-6 in the third quarter to up the lead to 20.
Brianne Alexander led Smyrna with 15 points. There was a scare in the fourth quarter when Alexander hit the ground hard and couldn’t stand up. She had to be assisted off the court, however, she was only suffering from muscle cramps.
Smyrna 61, Stewarts Creek 46
S – 19 10 17 15 — 61
SC – 6 13 14 13 — 46
Smyrna – Gorda Ameri 16, Darrell Haralson 10, Mulligan 8, Repress 7, Vanderbilt 6, Johnson 5, Okeke 4, Williams 3, Glover 2.
Stewarts Creek – Jalen Fearn 17, Jylan Washington 12, York 9, Kaelin 4, Gumbs 2, Kanar 2.
Smyrna 61, Stewarts Creek 41
S – 12 20 17 12 — 61
SC – 10 16 6 9 — 41
Smyrna – Brianne Alexander 15, Bolton 9, Moore 9, Hughes 8, Hunt 6, Brady 6, Blanchard 5, Clark 3.
Stewarts Creek – Brandi Ferby 20, Brianna Ferby 11, Crews 6, Odom 2, Esquivel 2.