Rebels Top Vikings in Meeting 2
The last time these 2 teams met, it was an epic showdown in which the Vikings pulled off a big upset at home to open region play 50-44 in what was a closely contested ballgame. The Vikings won their next 2 region games to start 3-0 before Dorman absolutely dominated them from wire to wire in the first round of the City Rivalry this past Tuesday night.
The Rebels had been on a slide since Dorman rallied back from a 12 point deficit in the 2nd half to win 72-66 at Schofield Gymnasium a week and a half ago, having dropped their next 2 games to JL Mann and Greer.
With the season entering the home stretch, Friday night’s game in Duncan carried a lot of weight for both teams. For the Vikings, a win would keep them alone in 2nd place in the region standings. For the Rebels, not only would it get them “off the schneid”, but it would put them in a tie for 2nd with just 3 more games to play in the regular season – all of which are in region.
This game got off to the type of start we are accustomed to seeing out of Byrnes. They came out swinging and played stifling defense, keeping the Vikings from being able to drive the ball inside on them. The rebels took a quick 6-2 lead behind 3s from their leading scorer on the night, Evan Enos, and Kayzzin McDowell, which forced Caleb Gaither to burn a timeout.
After the timeout, Spartanburg was able to get some momentum going thanks to some solid defense and 3s from Tony Webb, J’Bari Miller, and Zeke Bell-Boyd. They rallied to make it a 3 point game, thanks in part to a clutch 3 at the buzzer to end the 1st quarter from Dyllan Harris.
In the 2nd quarter, the Vikings were once again plagued by turnovers and long scoreless droughts – the same things that cost them against Dorman on Tuesday night and have been a thorn in their side all year. The difference between then and tonight was that thanks to Spartanburg’s solid defensive play, Byrnes was not able to put together the big scoring runs that the Cavaliers were to put the game away 3 nights ago. Despite a nearly 5 minute scoreless skid, the Vikings managed to pull back within 2 on a big 3 from J’Bari Miller before Evan Enos and Kade Caton scored on back to back baskets to re-up the advantage to 7 points – 29-22, at the half.
The Vikings managed to put together their best scoring run of the game behind a hot start to the 3rd quarter from Brailun Thomas, who contributed 7 of the 10 points in the rally to cut the Rebels’ lead down to 1 heading to the final stanza.
In the end, and this is very “captain obvious” of me, you have to do 4 things to win a basketball game — rebound, score, defend, and don’t turn it over. The Vikings struggled with all 4 down the stretch (especially in the scoring department — just 5 points in the final 8:00) for the 2nd straight game and that cost them.
In the early going of the 4th, Spartanburg missed their first 2 chances to take their first lead of the game, but managed to ensure that Byrnes stayed off the scoreboard over the first couple of minutes.
They finally took a brief 42-40 lead on a three pointer from Brailun Thomas. However, the Rebels responded perfectly with the dagger. Spartanburg once again failed to score over a 4+ minute stretch, and the Rebels went on an 11-0 tear, and another run of 8-2 (19-2 total to finish the game) propelling them to their 3rd region win or the season by a final margin of 59-44.
The Rebels were led by Evan Enos with 26 points. Kade Caton was the only other Runnin’ Rebel in double figures with 10. Kayzzin McDowell and Jacson Walker tallied 6 points a piece, while Spartanburg managed to limit Kobe Staggs to just 5 points on the night.
The Vikings’ lead scorer was Brailun Thomas with 14 points. Zeke Bell-Boyd was close behind in double digits with 11. J’Bari Miller tallied 8, while Dyllan Harris logged 5.
Byrnes (16-7, 3-2 region) will set their sights on trying to take sole possession of 2nd place on Tuesday night when they host the Boiling Springs Bulldogs, who dropped another close contest to Dorman Friday, and the rebs will follow that up with another showdown against Dorman on the road Friday. Both games will tip off at 7:30.
The Vikings (8-13, 3-2 region) will play back to back nights this week with a home tilt versus Gaffney on Tuesday and a road trip to South Pointe on Wednesday. Tips are at 7:30 and 7:45, respectively.