Valient Comeback Against Creswell Falls Just Short

The Manteo Redskins started the game off shaky with 3 straight turnovers, and three straight fouls on the defensive end. The trend of turning the ball over would cease, as Manteo would finish the game with 15 (their lowest turnover total yet this year), however, the trend of the fouls would continue throughout the night and ultimately determine the outcome of the game.  Creswell would finish the game making 29 of 39 foul shots, as Manteo had 4 different players foul out in the 4th quarter. It was one thing for the whistle to blow all night long, but the whistle was constantly being blown by the wrong official who was not in the position to make the correct call.

Despite the early and constant foul trouble throughout the game, the Redskins hung tough and gave it all they had. Due to Creswell not having a JV team, the varsity team brought several of their own JV players for bench support, and the young men came ready to play. James Gillreath hoped off the bench just two minutes into the game, and he would never return to the bench. James lead the defensive 1-2-2 trap at the top, providing speed and length, and causing turnovers. James also lead on the boards, with 7 offensive rebounds. Erik Bailey put forth his best game on the season, posting a double double, with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assist.

Creswell started the game off in a triangle and two defense, playing man on Claveon Rice, and Erik Bailey. This left room for others to find open looks outside as Hendrick Kee and Darren Sauders did just that. The Tigers were eventually forced back into man defense.

The Redskins went into the 4th quarter down 16 points. With all freshman and sophomores on the court, the Redskins mounted a comeback to bring it to just down 3 points at one point.

With just a little more than one minute remaining in the game, and down six, the Redskins had their fourth player foul out. Sophomore Blaize Bozarth was pulled from the bench and told to let it fly. With under a minute to play, Blaize caught the ball for the first time all game at the top of they key, at the volleyball line, and let it fly for 3 points. The clutch shot cut the lead to being down one possession. With the excitement of the big shot, several players forgot the instructions of the prior timeout, which was to pick up full court man, deny number 10 and 15 the inbounds pass, and foul whoever else caught the ball immediately. Three players ran back down the court, forgetting their assignments, allowing their best shooter and player, number 10, to receive the ball and dribble off 10 seconds before he was fouled. Hitting the first, and then retaining possession on the rebound off the miss, lead to another two made baskets at the line. Down 6, with 15 seconds left, the Redskins could not finish the comeback.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, ” In a tough away game, in a small, tight gym, against a solid team, we played our butts off tonight. This was by far the best defense we have played all year, as players were getting up in their faces, anticipating passes, crashing the boards hard, and getting after it ever defensive possession. It was by far our best offensive game of the season as well. We average 36 points a game, and tonight we nearly doubled that average at 68 points. The balled moved well, we were aggressive driving to the basket, had 15 offensive rebounds, and had our highest assist total of the year. I thought the youngs kids came off the bench and provided a spark for us. While the win/loss column may not show it, it is clear that we have improved drastically as a team throughout the year.”

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