When it found itself trailing, South not only erased the deficit, but left it in the dust.
An 11-2 Southeast lead early provided a necessary wakeup call for the Titans, who sped past the Buffaloes for a 30-22 halftime lead and kept up the attack for a 58-47 win on Tuesday night.
“I told them, at some point, you’ve got to be tired of basically starting out on the bottom and trying to crawl out,” South coach Chuck Gunter said. “I told them they’ve got to relax, run their offense, get your sets, have patience, and it paid off little by little.”
But the Titans (10-3, 6-3 City League) didn’t panic, and they methodically fed the ball inside to 6-foot-3 senior center Darren Lewis. Once Lewis got the ball he went straight for the hoop, either getting the field goal or getting fouled in the process.
“(Gunter) just told us to turn it up,” Lewis said. “We do a bad job of jumping out on teams first, we wait for them to jump out on us. That’s when it clicks in our heads to come back and we’ve got to play and win this game.”
Lewis used his wide body to score 12 points, tying him for the team lead with T.J. Turner and Dawson Gunter. Daran Lee added nine, but mainly set up his teammates with great feeds inside.
Once he received the pass in the paint, Lewis was frequently double- and triple-teamed by Southeast, including 6-6 senior post Stephon Barber. But Lewis’ agility and soft touch thwarted the Buffaloes’ defense, and Barber ended up fouling out early in the third quarter.
And it was rough inside, as evidenced by a small cut under Lewis’ left eye that forced him out of the game in the fourth quarter.
But it loomed much smaller after the victory for Lewis.
“Everybody underestimates us, and that leaves a big target on our backs,” he said. “They think they’re going to come out and blow us out, and we have to show them that we came to fight.”
Harding and Bub Gross had 11 points each for Southeast (5-8, 3-6), which managed just five points in the third quarter.
Southeast: Gross 11, Harding 11, Cobbins 5, Brown 3, Loggins 2, Barber 5, Oyugi 8, Wilson 2.
South: Donart 3, Lee 9, Turner 12, Griffin 2, Gunter 12, Taylor 3, Brickhouse 5, Lewis 12.