Lock Down: Cavaliers Defense Leads the Way
By Jed Blackwell/The Spartanburg Sports Report
Dorman coach Thomas Ryan knows that in the playoffs, basketball most often transitions to a half-court game.
This year’s Cavalier squad is built just for that, particularly on the defensive end. Saturday night when the lights were brightest, the Cavaliers were simply lights-out.
Leading 13-7 just inside the one-minute mark of the first quarter in the 5A Upper State championship, Gaffney made it 15-7 with an offensive rebound and a follow.
The Cavaliers allowed three more points in the next 12 minutes.
Gaffney netted a pair of free throws in the second quarter and another in the third before Tay Fowler hit a field goal with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter to break the drought. By that time, Dorman had turned the deficit into a 10-point lead, and was able to largely cruise the rest of the way in their 64-47 Upper State victory.
Ryan said the Cavaliers take pride in their work on the defensive end.
“All year, we’ve emphasized the defensive end,” he said. “In the last three quarters we were outstanding defensively. I give our guys credit for believing in what we do on every possession, not just certain plays. We treat every play the same.”
Holding the Indians without a field goal for a quarter and a half was beyond anything Ryan expected.
“Our defense was awesome tonight,” he said after Saturday’s game. “They scored 15 in the first quarter and 32 in the final three quarters. That’s outstanding. They really put it on the floor well and our guards did a good job of containing them. Then our bigs were a great second layer and contested really well, and then we rebounded the ball.”
Center Tae Cannon grabbed quite a few of those rebounds, and said that was a particular focus.
“We knew Gaffney would come out strong and be a tough team, and that impacted my approach to the game,” he said. “My main focus was to rebound, and I just kept going after it.”
Tyson McClain said the approach had been the same all season.
“Our defense is going to be our main focal point,” he said. “Our game plan doesn’t change. We keep doing what we do. If we can keep teams from scoring, we can win the game.”