On Tuesday, February 7th, the Redskins made the long trip south to take on the Ocracoke Dolphins. The game plan was to take their best player, number 22, Liam Caswell, out of the game, and force others to make shots, with a box and one defense. Freshman James Gilreath defended Caswell brilliantly all night long, holding him to scoring just one basket from the field, and seven points on the foul line. His nine total points were a far cry from the 27 points he droped on Manteo the last time they faced off.
Gilreath was not the only Redskin who came ready to ‘D’up’, as Manteo held Ocracoke to scoring just seven points in the first quarter, and 11 points in the second quarter. Manteo went into half time leading for the first time this year with a score of 22-18.
In the first half, the Redskins moved the ball effectively to get good looks inside and out aginst both man and zone defense. During half time, the Redskins anticipated and prepared for Ocracoke to start the second half off in their 2-2-1 pressure defense. They did as expected, however, it still game Manteo trouble. A few quick turnovers let Ocracoke right back in the game. A pivotal moment in the third quarter occured when leading 25 to 19, the Redskins turned the ball over in the front court, of which Ocracoke then converted the possesion. Manteo then illegally handed the ball in after the basket, which gave the ball right back to Ocracoke to take out under the basket. That inbound play for Ocracoke lead to a made three pointer in the corner, followed by a foul after the basket, which then again gave the ball back to Ocracoke. The Dolphins then hit a baseline jumper to take the lead 26-25. That 7-0 series of events got Ocracoke rolling and stole the momentum from Manteo.
The game would go back and fourth throughout the thrid and fourth quarter. The game was tied up at 44 with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Ocracoke would then score, followed by a missed layup for Manteo, resulting in a foul and Ocracoke shooting 1 and 1, of which they would sink. A good look from beyond the arc from Manteo, would miss badly, after which Ocracoke came down and burried a corner three, to lead by 7 points. Missing the next shot and the clock narrowing down to a minute remaining, the Redskins had to foul and stop the clock. Ocracoke went 10 for 10 from the line in the fourth quarter from three different players. The Redkins would score on their remaining possessions, but not enough to cut into the seven point lead. Final score, 59 to 52.
Senior Chandler France lead another double double, with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Erik Bailey hit four 3’s and a layup to add 14 points. Claveon Rice, Wolfie Schultz, James Gilreath, and Darren Saunders chiped in for the rest of the points.
Coach Cleaver stated, ” We are playing our best basketball as of late. This was our first complete game, from start to finish. The players have finally bought into the concept of and the importance of defense, and we held a high scoring team to just 18 points in a half by playing good team defense. We executed our game plan, taking their best player out of the game, and forced the others to step up. I credit the Ocracoke players for stepping up and doing just enough to get the win, but I am extremley proud of our boys for the effort they put fourth tonight, and the vast improvement they have shown as of late.”