BY TAYLOR ELDRIDGE
I know a lot of pro-City League fans on this blog were really pushing this upset, and Southeast delivered with a 54-50 victory over a very accomplished Derby team. And with Manhattan upsetting East on the other side of the pod, Southeast’s chances of returning to the Class 6A tournament are…well, you have to like them.
It’s a testament to the coaching of Carl Taylor. He doesn’t have to prove himself anymore, but if there were any doubters left this season, well, what are you doubting? Southeast came out the aggressor early against Derby and sent the home team back on its heels. As Derby coach Ryan Herrs would say after the game, one team came out aggressive and confident and the other came out uptight. It wasn’t hard to figure out which was which.
Click the jump for more analysis.
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Here’s a recap of the game quarter-by-quarter:
First quarter: Derby turns the ball over seven turnovers, as Southeast converted them for eight points and a 14-9 lead.
Second quarter: Lots of fouls are called; neither team takes advantage. Southeast was 9 of 14 and Derby was 4 of 13 from the line in the first half. Southeast edges forward for a 29-19 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Derby makes only 3 of 12 shots in the quarter, but gets to the free throw line 11 times and makes 8. Cameron Cornelius has 7 points and 3 rebounds this quarter to draw within 6, 39-33.
Fourth quarter: Derby closes to within 39-38 and 41-40, but never takes the lead – something Herrs said was a huge downer after the game. Southeast produces 9 points from its last 5 possessions to hold off Derby.
Now, entering this game I wasn’t very impressed with the body of work Southeast finished with in the regular season. Outside of its upset of the top-ranked Heights, Southeast hadn’t really defeated anyone of note. But somewhere along the roller coaster season for Southeast, the team found itself. Finally, it came together against Derby.
If you would have watched the game, you would have pegged Southeast as the team entering with a 16-4 record. The Buffaloes played with confidence and never wavered, leading this game for the final 29 1/2 minutes. I hadn’t seen Southeast play before this game, but it looked poised and in control of this game from the start. I admit, I was wrong. Just another lesson why to never doubt coach Taylor.
Now I have seen Derby play and play probably some of its best basketball of the season (in the McPherson tournament). Something was just off about the Panthers this game. Nothing looked smooth; nothing came natural. Zack Steadman wasn’t hitting from deep, Cameron Cornelius wasn’t much of a factor from the floor; neither was Jabril Richardson. Derby was just 13 of 37, but it still could have won this game.
That brings me to the free throw shooting in this game, which was awful. The only thing uglier than watching 44 fouls and 69 free throws being attempted was watching the shooting at the charity line. The teams were a combined 38 of 69 (55.1 percent) and Derby was a particularly terrible 51.3 percent in 39 attempts. Derby had its opportunities to take the lead at the free throw line, but it was just 8 of 15 (53 percent) in the fourth quarter. To contrast, Southeast was 5 of 5 from the line in the final two minutes of the game.
The critical part of this game came when Derby cut the lead to 41-40 with 5:10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The rest of the game, each team had 10 possessions. Let’s compare:
Southeast: 3 made field goals; 5 trips to free throw line (7-for-10) & 2 turnovers.
Derby: 3-for-8 shots, 4 offensive rebounds, 3 trips to free throw line (3-for-6) & 3 turnovers
As you can see, Derby just did not get it done. In 14 chances, it only produced 10 points. In Southeast’s 10 chances, it produced 13 points. That’s the difference.
And now, Southeast is one game away from joining other teams that make up the rich history of its school. Much has been made of the struggles of the Buffaloes this season. Everyone has been disappointed Southeast didn’t contend for the City League in what has largely been a down year. But now, it doesn’t matter.
Because as you will read in my story, it’s not how you start – it’s how you finish that matters.
Discussion Questions1. How surprised are you with Southeast?2. How disappointed are you in Derby?3. How far can Southeast go?
(10) Reggie Williams*2-21-11-26011011
(35) Joseph Randle*2-40-01-25033243
(44) Kaheem Ransom*2-50-12-26156323
(21) Kevin Gunter*3-50-10-16112011
(34) Gavin Thurman*5-160-07-1417246211
(12) Troy Brooks1-30-00-02101101
(45) Hayden Harris1-40-05-57134000
(41) Ronnie Presley0-10-00-00000111
(22) Gary Thurman1-21-12-45213003
(43) Broderick Webb0-00-00-00011000
Field Goal %1st9-2437.5%2nd8-1844.4%Game17-4240.5%
Free Throw %1st9-1464.3%2nd9-1656.3%Game18-3060.0%
(3) Maqueiz Tucker*1-30-22-44235032
(4) Zack Steadman*5-102-62-414033115
(24) Jabril Richardson*2-60-13-97246002
(44) Cameron Cornelius*2-70-213-21174610144
(53) Trayce Cornejo*2-72-50-06213101
(20) Tyler Hockenberry0-00-00-00000000
(5) Devaughn Granger0-00-00-00011001
(10) Kyler Steadman1-30-00-12101012
(32) Tyler Harrison0-10-00-00022000
(21) Austin Rodriguez0-00-00-00000000
Field Goal %1st6-1540.0%2nd7-2231.8%Game13-3735.1%
Free Throw %1st4-1330.8%2nd16-2661.5%Game20-3951.3%