Defense lifts Cavaliers over second-ranked Sabres

Defense lifts Cavaliers over second-ranked Sabres

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Defense lifts Cavaliers over second-ranked Sabres

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Southside Christian hosted Christ Church in varsity basketball Tuesday, Jan.13, 2015.

Christ Church coach R.J. Beach said he figured it would be a “grind-it-out game.” He had that one right.

The Cavaliers tussled with Southside Christian from start to finish Tuesday night, held the second-ranked Sabres to three points over the last 12 minutes and left with a 36-31 victory in a Region 2-A game at the Sabre Center.

“Defensively I thought we played our tails off,” Beach said. “We made enough shots on the offensive end to win, but defense won it for us.”

Tenth-ranked Christ Church (8-3, 2-1) trailed 19-18 at halftime and saw Southside Christian surge to a 28-22 lead on a short jumper by Timmy Stokes with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

The Sabres (8-5, 3-1) then went nearly eight minutes without scoring, and Austin Kupec’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter was their only basket the rest of the way.

“We played really good defensively,” Southside Christian coach Bryan Bullock said. “We’re really good defensively. We’re holding everybody in the 30s and 40s. But you can’t go 12 minutes without scoring and expect to win. We didn’t deserve to win. They hung in there, and they deserved to win.”

Sophomore point guard Micah Banks was the offensive catalyst for the Cavaliers, finishing with 20 points.

“Micah understands the game really well and was able to penetrate the zone a little bit off the dribble,” Beach said.

“We wanted to knock down shots since it was a 2-3 zone,” said Banks. “But our shots weren’t falling, so Coach told us to drive and get to the rim and we got to it.”

Braxton Westfield, who scored eight points, and the rest of the Cavaliers also did a good job on the boards.

“We rebounded very well considering how tall they are,” Beach said. “I think we eliminated a lot of second-chance opportunities.”

“We missed layups, we missed wide-open shots, shots that we’ve been killing,” said Bullock. “We didn’t get to the free-throw line like we wanted to. We missed a ton, and they didn’t let us get second shots. They did their job.”

Stokes led the Sabres with 11 points, and Hunter Bullock scored 10 points.

Shayla Bennett scored 25 points, and the top-ranked Christ Church girls team cruised to a 59-29 victory.

Lawren Cook added 15 points for the Cavaliers, who improved to 10-2 overall and 3-0 in the region.

Taylor Martin scored six points, and Caroline Phillips and Sarah Thomson had five points each for No. 8 Southside Christian (8-4, 1-3).

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