Mount Tabor ends WS Prep’s reign

Mount Tabor ends WS Prep’s reign
December 24
00:00 2015
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Jalen Crawley of the Phoenix rises to take a mid-range jumper over Carson Anthis of the Spartans.



Thanks to Mount Tabor, Winston-Salem Prep’s stranglehold on the Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament title is history.

When the Spartans beat the Phoenix 94-84 in the tournament quarterfinals last Saturday, it ended a noteworthy run. Prep had advanced to the finals four years in a row and in the process won three championships during that span of time.

The Spartans relied on their bruising inside game to control the paint at both ends of the floor. The front line of Duncan Smits, Dillon Bullard, Jaylen Moore and Cole Foley repeatedly crashed the boards for second-chance points.

That was just one phase of the game in which Mount Tabor (6-1) had an edge. At times, the backcourt played at an exceptional level. Carson Anthis and Quest Aldridge repeatedly attacked Prep’s pressure with dribble penetration, which allowed them to get the ball to teammates for high-percentage shots.

Bullard, who finished with 20 points, set the tone for the four Spartans who scored in double figures. Smits and Aldridge added 17 points apiece and Anthis scored 16.

“The bottom line is that we’re bigger than they are on the inside,” said coach Willie Harrison of Mount Tabor. “So, it’s to our advantage to go inside as much as possible. That’s what the final outcome was based on. We got them in early foul trouble and they couldn’t bounce back from that.”

The Spartans led 49-37 at the half, but by late in the third quarter, the Phoenix made a big push to close the gap. Zachery Austin hit back-to-back 3s and a layup to cut the deficit to 63-61 with 1:42 left in the third quarter.

Over the next three minutes, Mount Tabor regrouped and extended its lead to 77-65 with 6:33 to go in the game. Prep, now 2-5, did close to within seven points of the lead  at 89-82, but Bullard scored inside with 38 seconds left to end any hopes of a Phoenix comeback.

“Towards the end of the fourth quarter, we made some mistakes on defense,” said Harrison. “We were beaten really bad off the drive. When someone gets in the lane and scores like that, it says something about your defense. The good thing is that we have time to fix that.”

The game didn’t start well for Prep. K.J. Watson, last year’s Lash-Chronicle MVP, picked up his third foul late in the first quarter. Watson sat for a good portion of the first half, and finished up with 14 points. Watson’s issues with fouls set the stage for Tyren Hairston to take over. Hairston went into overdrive mode and fired away for 36 points to lead all scorers.  Austin added 15 points and Jalen Crawley scored 10.

“We played about as well as we could possibly play,” said coach Bill Tibbs of Winston-Salem Prep. “K.J. got those fouls in the beginning of the game and that really hurt us. But Tyren Hairston really came through. If the ball bounces our way a little more and Zach (Austin) doesn’t foul out, we might have made it a little closer. But we also hurt our chances (to win) by missing nine free throws.”


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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