DCHS boys outlast Crossett
Drew Central's senior boys survived a slow start on offense Tuesday, November 17, winning 44-41 over Crossett at DCHS.
After scoring 62 points in a season-opening rout of Dermott, the Pirates (2-0) found the going tougher against the Class 5A Eagles. DCHS coach Larry Harris said Crossett's zone defense forced Drew Central to settle for jump shots.
The Pirates scored just six points in the first quarter and trailed 19-14 at halftime.
"Dermott played a lot of man-to-man," Harris said. "Crossett wanted to take away our big men, because we're dominant inside. We had to rely on a lot of outside shooting."
The Drew Central boys found their range in the third quarter, where they outscored the Eagles 17-8. The Pirates opened the period on a 10-2 run and led the rest of the way. Harris said his guards did a better job of penetrating in the second half.
"I got my guards to realize that if you penetrate the gaps and draw the defense, you can kick out to the open man and get some shots," he said.
The coach also made a defensive adjustment, switching from a 2-2-1 press to a 1-2-1-1 with trapping.
"That sped the game up," Harris said. "That first half was real slow. They were coming down methodically and doing well against our press."
Drew Central didn't trail in the fourth, but the game was closely contested the rest of the way. The Pirates were clinging to a 40-38 lead with less than a minute to play when Crossett's Richard Williams stole the ball in the frontcourt, giving the Eagles a chance to tie or take the lead.
Crossett missed on two 3-point attempts, however. Derrick Williams rebounded the second and was fouled with 12 seconds left.
Williams sank both ends of a 1-and-1, then added two more free throws a few seconds later to seal the win. The margin was 44-38 before Crossett's Rod Green hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final score.
Williams finished with 10 points, one block and a team-high 14 rebounds. Harris said Williams didn't have a big night on offense - he had four points entering the fourth quarter - but he more than made up for it on the boards and at the foul line.
"When one part of your game is off, you have to come back and give us something else, and that's what he did," Harris said.
Johnathan Bentley also had 10 points for Drew Central, hitting 2 of 5 from 3-point range. David Bell had nine points and a team-high five assists. James Rhodes had seven points.
The Pirates opened the game with a 5-0 lead but were outscored 7-1 over the final 3 minutes of the first quarter. The Eagles led 19-12 late in the second before Williams beat the halftime buzzer with a layup that trimmed the lead to 19-14.
The game was tied 21-21 early in the third quarter when Rhodes hit a 3-pointer that gave Drew Central the lead for good. The margin was 28-27 when Crossett turned the ball over with just 3 seconds left in the period. Bentley threw up a 3-point prayer that was answered, giving the Pirates a 31-27 lead entering the fourth.
Drew Central led 39-32 in the fourth before the Eagles rallied to pull within 40-38 on a basket by Micah Henderson with 56 seconds remaining.
Clarence Malcom led Crossett with 17 points. Williams had 14.
Drew Central was scheduled to play at Warren on Friday, November 20, but those games were canceled due to a conflict with state football playoffs.
A trip to Crossett was scheduled for Monday, November 23, while Drew Central was set to host Hamburg on Tuesday, November 24. Results from those games were unavailable at press time.
Up next is the Fordyce Tournament, scheduled for November 30 through December 5. The Pirates will open the tourney against Malvern at 4:25 p.m. Monday.