Dorman Outlasts Byrnes
In region II-5A, every game is an all out war, regardless of the sport being played. Everyone in the region is a rival and every team in the region is competitive – even the ones that are rebuilding under new leadership. That said, you cannot take any game for granted. Tonight’s rivalry battle between the top 2 teams (although not top 2 in the standings) in the region was certainly no exception.
The Dorman Cavaliers made the trek to the tight and rowdy confines of Schofield Gymnasium in Duncan for the first of 2 battles between the 2 bitter rivals. On paper, the game promised to be a high scoring thriller. Led by Senior Point Guard/Shooting Guard Kobe Staggs – who has been living up to his name of late (RIP, Kobe Bryant) with 154 points over the last 4 games – and Kayzzin McDowell, the “Runnin’ Rebels” were averaging nearly 68 points per game prior to tonight.
On the flipside, Dorman has been consistent all season (around 69 points per game on average), but especially over their last 3 games, where they averaged 65 points. There have been times where the Cavaliers have not shot the ball well, but so far they have been able to find ways to overcome that and win close games – which is exactly what we got on Tuesday night at Byrnes.
The Rebels came out with an excellent game plan and they executed it nearly flawlessly in the first half. Byrnes did a fantastic job of getting Dorman out of their comfort zone, keeping their guards from being able to get the ball inside. The Runnin’ Rebs also came out shooting the long ball with ease. In the first quarter, they made 4 three pointers. The ferocity of their attack on defense and their early offensive burst forced the Cavaliers to take a lot of bad shots. As a matter of fact, even when they had good looks, their recurrent problem of not being able to score the ball at times came to the forefront.
Dorman scored just 10 points in the 1st quarter, and trailed 20-10 heading to the 2nd stanza. Things improved offensively for Thomas Ryan’s squad in the 2nd quarter, thanks to a strong 8 point quarter from Terry Leonard. Despite that, Dorman still had their battles with executing in the little things.
Each time the Cavaliers managed to get some positive momentum, they committed untimely fouls, which led to Byrnes being able to kill their rallies at the line. Twice in the 2nd frame, Dorman managed to pull to within 2 possessions only to let it slip away. Byrnes scored just 8 points in the 2nd that did not come at the charity stripe, where they went a combined 10 for 12 to take a 38-26 advantage to the half.
The game flipped in the 3rd quarter as this time, it was the Cavaliers that came out swinging – both offensively and defensively. Senior Point Guard Sean Lindsay managed to find his way into the scorebooks in a fashion that sparked his team with 7 points in the stanza, including two huge 3 pointers. Christian Andrews and Chase Harris also contributed with 6 and 5 points, respectively. The Cavs outscored Byrnes 22-10 to tie the game at 48 as it went to the final 8 minutes.
At this point, the feeling in the room was that we had all best get buckled up because this game was shaping up for a wild finish that would come down to the final possession. Dorman took their first lead of the game early on in the quarter on a three pointer from Terry Leonard. It was short lived after Kayzzin McDowell hit a 3 to tie it on the Rebs’ ensuing possession. Now, to fast forward to the final 3:00..
Dorman had once again rallied to take the lead 61-60 on a long Christian Andrews 3 from beyond the left wing with 2:55 to play. After a quick timeout, Byrnes responded with a quick 4-0 run via a layup by Kade Caton and a steal/fast break layup by Kobe Staggs to go up 64-61 with 2:06 to play.
That would be the last time they led or were even in striking distance.
The Cavaliers finished the game on an 11-2 run over the final 2:00 to salt the game away for the 72-66 win.
Once again, Dorman found a way to overcome their mistakes and win a close game, upping their overall record to 17-2 and their region record to 2-0, tying them with Spartanburg for 1st place.
The Cavaliers were led by Christian Andrews and Chase Harris, both with 14 points a piece. Terry Leonard finished with 13 points while Jamarcus Wilkins rounded out the Dorman guys in double figures with 10.
Byrnes, now 14-5 overall and 1-2 in region 2-5A and in 3rd place, was led by Kobe Staggs with 20 points – including going 9-12 from the free throw line. Kade Caton and Kayzzin McDowell both tallied 14 points while Jacson Walker tallied 11.
Dorman will now set their sights on Gaffney, who will visit them Friday night with tipoff set for 7:30 PM.
The Runnin’ Rebels will take on JL Mann in a late non-conference battle Friday night at 7:30 at the Schofield Gymnasium.