Mount Tabor gets revenge win over rival Reynolds

Mount Tabor gets revenge win over rival Reynolds
February 04
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Coach Harrison



Revenge is indeed sweet for Mount Tabor in JV basketball.

The Spartans finally made amends against a Reynolds squad that has been their nemesis this season. Mount Tabor built an early lead and held steady to manufacture a convincing 61-44 victory on its home floor last Friday. With a little over a week left in the season, the Spartans find themselves in a tight race with West Forsyth, Reagan and Reynolds for first place in the Central Piedmont Conference.

So far this season, Spartans have lost twice in 13 games. In both instances, defeat came at the hands of the Demons. The second loss, which occurred in the semifinals of the Lash-Chronicle JV Tournament in December, was especially painful because Mount Tabor was the No. 1 seed.

“Our guys marked the date of this game on their calendars,” said coach Willie Harrison of Mount Tabor. “In both losses, we felt like we could’ve come out with the victory. With this win, it shows that we’ve turned the corner as individuals and as a team. I’m proud of what they accomplished tonight. We’re back to where we need to be.”

The critical difference for Mount Tabor was its ability to deal with Reynolds’ half-court defensive pressure. In doing so, turnovers were minimized, which enabled the Spartans to get the maximum out of their inside game.

Post players Dillon Bullard and Jalen Moore did most of the damage. Bullard controlled the paint at both ends of the floor and finished with a game-high 27 points. Moore came off the bench to contribute 16 points and four steals, which included a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks.

“I was very pleased with the way we came out and played with a lot energy,” said Harrison. “Defensively, we finally stepped up as a team. Plus. we really helped ourselves by moving the ball around and we didn’t look for just one guy to do most of the scoring.”

In this third meeting of the season between these two teams, Mount Tabor went up by as much as 20 points in the second quarter. By intermission, the Spartans led 32-16.

“Things did not go well for us early,” said coach Mike McCulloch of Reynolds. “There were a lot of easy shots that we missed. We seemed a little too content to just get to the rim, and not finish. That was a problem.”

Reynolds (12-3, 4-2 CPC) did make a gallant comeback in the third quarter. The Demons rediscovered their shooting touch and outscored the Spartans 19-11 in that quarter. By the start of the final quarter, the double-digits deficit was trimmed to eight points at 43-35. Ian Henderson of Reynolds scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the fourth to lead the way.

The Demons, however, were not able to sustain that run. Bullard and Moore combined to score 16 of Mount Tabor’s 18 points in the fourth to put the game on ice.

“We were down by 16 at the half,” said coach Mike McCulloch of Reynolds. “I told our guys that if we could cut it to eight at the end of the third quarter, I’d be pleased. That’s what we did. But during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, they hit a couple of 3s and got the momentum back. Coach Harrison played a good zone and offensively, we didn’t handle it well.”

Harrison opted to go with a 1-3-1 zone in an effort to neutralize Reynolds’ backcourt quickness. The Spartans’ active zone did not allow many open looks to the Demons perimeter shooters. Henderson was the only Reynolds player to score in double figures. Mysta Goodloe chipped in with nine points and Rashon Bethea added eight points.

“Since they have so much quickness at guard, we switched things up [with a zone] and it paid off,” said Harrison. “We were able to force turnovers and get some easy buckets. I think that got them frustrated a little bit. They never adjusted after halftime, so we just stayed in it.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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