South-Doyle was a rude guest at Michael R. Reed Gymnasium as the Cherokees spoiled the Morristown West Senior Night with a 51-43 victory over the Trojans.
The visitors led from start to finish as the Trojans didn’t make a field goal in the first quarter and never really recovered the rest of the way.
South-Doyle, which will be the third seed in the upcoming District 2-AAA Tournament at East, improved to 18-7 on the season while the Trojans are through for the regular season at 18-11. The Cherokees wound up 8-4 in the Inter Mountain Conference while West closed at 6-6.
The Trojans will face cross-town rival East in their tournament opener on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Isenburg-Siler Gymnasium.
Talented point guard Kendrick Holland gunned in 26 points to lead the Cherokees. Tony Sapp and Terrell Brown added 11 points each. Trent Lovelace was the only Trojans player to reach double figures with 15. Ji Batts added eight while Sawyer Smith scored six and grabbed a dozen rebounds.
The Cherokees led by as many as 12 in the third quarter and West got no closer than six down the stretch.
“I thought we played poorly offensively,” West coach Jonathan Smith said. “We missed a lot of shots we normally make and we need to make those to get into a rhythm.
“But give credit to South-Doyle because I thought they played a really good game tonight. Kendrick is just a really, really good basketball player. He was able to break us down in a lot of places.
“But I think we can use this loss as motivation going into the tournament on Tuesday,” Smith said.
The coach continued, “We didn’t shoot the three very well tonight and that’s something we kind of hang our hats on. Most nights we hit them pretty well but this wasn’t one of those nights.
“I felt Sawyer Smith played really well for us tonight. He scored some points and did a good job on the boards and defensively.”
Smith closed, saying, “Now its crunch time with the tournament starting, and we have to be ready.”
Neither team had a good shooting percentage as South-Doyle was 18-47 for 38.3 percent. The Cherokees were 5-of-19 from three-point land.
West managed just 14-of-48 for 29.2 percent. The Trojans finished 6-of-19 behind the arc. With Smith leading the way and Connor Patrick adding seven, the Trojans had a 41-37 rebound advantage. Quinton Carr led the winners with eight.
Holland scored six in the opening quarter, and South-Doyle led 10-4 after one. Smith got the first basket for the home team with 6:49 left in the half, and West closed within 13-11 on a three by Batts and a pair of free throws by Patrick with 5:11 to play in the second.
But, Holland scored the first five points in a 10-4 run by South-Doyle that opened the lead to 23-13. A bucket by Patrick and a triple by Lovelace closed the lead to 23-18 at halftime.
Lovelace knocked down another three to start the third quarter, but Holland made two straight long ones and it was 29-21. Lovelace connected from behind the arc again, but the Cherokees used a 9-2 run to grab their biggest lead of the game at 38-26 with 1:01 left in the third stanza.
Back-to-back treys by Lovelace and Ryan Shaffer closed it down to six at 40-34 with 5:49 remaining but that was as close as the Trojans would get.
South-Doyle made only 4-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter but that was just enough to keep the Cherokees safely in front.
Trojans 52, Dragons 45
Morristown West used a 20-point fourth quarter to take out Clinton Tuesday night at Clinton High School.
The Trojans got 19 points from Trent Lovelace and 10 apiece from Eli Steisslinger and Connor Patrick.
The Dragons were led by Jackson Garner’s 21 points.
The game was tight for the opening three quarters, with Clinton taking a 34-32 lead into the final frame. Lovelace drained two three-pointers in the fourth with Patrick and Elijah Davis tossing in field goals. The rest of West’s points came at the foul line as they closed out the game.