West can’t hold onto to halftime lead in loss to South Doyle

Morristown West jumped out to a big halftime lead behind the hot shooting of Ryan Shafer Tuesday night at Michael R. Reed Gymnasium, but South-Doyle held the Trojans without a basket in the third quarter and roared back for a 46-39 victory.

Shafer poured in 19 points in the first two quarters as the Trojans rolled out to a 29-14 lead but the Cherokees turned up the defense after intermission and battled back for the win.

Quentin Carr rifled in 21 points as South-Doyle improved to 8-5 for the season and 3-2 in Inter Mountain Conference play. No other player scored more than six.

West fell to 3-6 on the season and 1-4 in league action. Shafer finished with 22 points for the Trojans and Joey Hancock added six.

The Trojans hit over 50 percent from the floor in the first half including 6 of 10 three-point attempts. However, after the break, the home team managed only 3-of-17 and finished at 13-36 for 36.1 percent including 6-of-16 from behind the arc.

South-Doyle wasn’t much better, making 18-of-48 for 37.5 percent. The Cherokees hit 3-of-11 treys. Neither team was impressive at the free throw line as the winners made 7-of-21 compared to 7-of-18 for the Trojans.

West coach Jonathan Smith said, “Everybody’s saying you guys played better, but I don’t want to hear about better. It’s about whether we won or lost for me.

“This time of year, we can’t afford to be getting a better result and still lose,” he added. “I know that’s kind of rough. But when you look at the schedule and you have five games left, you have to find a way to play for four quarters.”

Smith continued, “You can look at different things and make all kinds of excuses but the bottom line is when the scoreboard goes off and the game is over, you’ve got to find a way to be in the win column.”

In talking about the second half, the coach said, “They switched to a man press and that really gave us problems because we only have one primary ball-handler. He was pressured the whole game and I’m sure he was worn out.

“When we played them down there, we turned the ball over 20 times. I don’t know if we had that many tonight or not but it was probably close. You’re not going to be able to win a game when you can’t score a basket in the third quarter.”

He added, “We saw some progress at times. I thought Ryan played really well and Aquilio (Romero) played well for us. They were under great pressure all night.”

Shafer was on fire at the start. He gunned in three triples in the first 1:13 and the Trojans were up 9-0. Ayden Rauton scored for the Cherokees but Shaffer had a basket and Hancock hit two free throws and it was 13-2.

Carr hit his first basket of the night but Shafer and Eli Steisslinger knocked down three-pointers and it was 19-4 before Tyson Miller hit the final bucket of the first quarter for South-Doyle.

Another three by Shaffer and free throw by Hancock got the lead to its biggest point at 23-6. It was 23-12 when Luke Yandell and Shaffer hit back to back baskets. Rauton scored for the visitors but Yandell made the final basket of the half for the Trojans.

However, the home team wouldn’t make another basket until there was 6:49 left in the game.

West held on to the lead although the Cherokees chipped away at the margin in the third quarter. Carr scored eight in the quarter. The Trojans’ only points came on a free throw by Shaffer that made it 30-17 with 5:13 on the clock and another charity toss by Hancock with 1:49 showing that made it 31-25.

Tony Sapp closed the margin to four with the final basket of the third before Carr hit a basket and Jatory Newton grabbed his own miss and put it back in to get South-Doyle even for the first time at 31-31 early in the fourth frame.

Brady Cornett hit a free throw for West with 6:58 to go and then Hancock’s short jumper made it 34-31 seconds later. Norton scored before Romero hit a free throw with 5:35 to play. D. J. Bradley then scored back-to-back baskets to put the Cherokees in front for the first time at 37-35 with 3:59 on the clock.

Shafer tied it for the Trojans but the visitors ran off eight straight points and won it going away.

West won the rebound battle 38-36 as Shaffer grabbed eight. Bradley hit seven for the winners.