Demons, Eagles beat top seeds to reach title game

Demons, Eagles beat top seeds to reach title game
December 24
00:00 2015
(Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)
Jaylen Moore of Mount Tabor scores on a put-back.



The top two seeds in this year’s Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament will have to settle for the consolation prize. That’s because No. 3 East Forsyth and No. 4 Reynolds, the lowest seeds of the tournament’s Final Four, prevailed over the higher seeds in the semifinals played on Monday night.

Reynolds whipped No. 1 seed Mount Tabor, 77-70 in the nightcap. East Forsyth topped No. 2 seed West Forsyth, 53-47 in the opening game. Here’s a replay of how each team advanced to the title round.

Reynolds tops No. 1

The Demons proved to be the better team in their match-up against Mount Tabor. Intense pressure defense and timely shooting set the tone for the victors. The Spartans managed to stay in contention, but were unable to make a complete comeback in the second half.

“We attacked the basket and made good shots,” said coach Mike McCulloch of Reynolds. “I was happy with 95 percent of our shot selection. When you make shots, it’s much easier for us to get into our full-court press, which allowed us to control the tempo. We wanted to play full-court for the first three quarters.”

Treviz Murphy, who finished with 21 points, spearheaded a balanced Demons offensive attack. Ian Henderson scored 13 points, while Dashan Adams and Mysta Goodloe chipped in with 11 points apiece.

Late in the third quarter it appeared that Mount Tabor was on the verge of finding a rhythm.  Jaylen Moore’s put-back cut Reynolds lead to 49-48 with about three minutes remaining. By the end of the quarter, the Demons pulled away with a 9-3 run to go up by seven points (58-51).

Mount Tabor did close the gap to 74-70 with 12.7 seconds left on a Quest Aldridge drive. Reynolds put the game away on a Murphy free throw and Rashon Bethea’s basket.

Coach Willie Harrison wasn’t pleased with how his Spartans performed against a team that it had lost to three nights earlier. Aside from Reynolds’ defensive effectiveness and offensive execution, Mount Tabor contributed to its downfall with mental lapses at both ends of the floor.

“From the beginning of the ball game until the very end, we didn’t have enough energy,” said coach Willie Harrison of Mount Tabor. “The effort wasn’t there. We just didn’t play hard enough to win a championship. We didn’t move the ball too well on offense. As for our defense, that’s something – that as a coach – I have to fix. Hopefully, we’ll have this all straightened out by the start of January.”

Aldridge scored 19 points to lead the way for the Spartans. Although post players Dillon Bullard (14 points) and Duncan Smits (13 points) scored in double digits, both had off-nights offensively.

East Forsyth triumphs

For the first half, neither team was able to fully impose its will on the other. But all that changed in the second half when East Forsyth outscored West Forsyth 15-5 in the third quarter.

Connor Sparrow was the top scorer for East Forsyth with 14 points. Josh Mahaffey, who sank a pair of foul shots in the waning seconds to help seal the win, finished with 10 points.

Although the Titans made a gallant comeback bid in the fourth, they weren’t able to totally erase the 43-34 deficit at the end of the third. The Eagles had command of the game and a 46-36 working margin with 4:14 left to play in the game. That’s when the momentum began to shift in West Forsyth’s favor.

JaQuan McMillian of the Titans hit a 3-pointer to cut the Eagles’ lead to 48-47 with 1:25 remaining in the contest. On the next possession, McMillian stole a pass and dribbled down court for a lay-up, but his shot, which would’ve given his team the lead, rimmed out. With the game still in doubt, West Forsyth had a turnover on its next possession, which squashed its rally.

“In the first half, we committed 13 turnovers and they beat us to every 50-50 ball,” said coach Rodney Minor of East Forsyth. “That’s why the game turned into a dogfight. In the second half, we rebounded well and we defended well, and that’s what ultimately got us the win.”

For the Titans, McMillian was the leading scorer with 15 points. Backcourt partner Jaylon McMillon chipped in with 10.


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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