Greenwood's Sydney Moss goes to the basket for an easy layup during Thursday's game.
(SHAWN M. KNOX | SPECIAL TO THE INDEX-JOURNAL)
Greenwood High School boys basketball coach Kelcey Stevens said before Christmas he was looking for consistent energy and execution in this week's Index-Journal Emerald City Classic.
While he didn't find Thursday's Day 1 performance perfect, it was more than enough to down Ware Shoals, as the Eagles hassled Ware Shoals' ball-handlers from the opening tip and locked the Hornets down with a swarming defensive effort en route to an easy 74-46 victory.
"We got (the desired execution) in spurts," said Stevens, whose team advanced to face his former school, Saluda, in today's semifinal. "I was really proud of our guys that came in late, with the energy that they brought. As a whole, the guys played hard, but we're still just trying to be better than Greenwood. We want to be better than we were yesterday, better than the last practice, than the last game, and we made some strides toward that (Thursday)."
It didn't take long for the Eagles (4-2) to assert themselves. After an early layup by Ja'Tezz Coleman made the score 3-2 in favor of Greenwood, the Eagles set off on a 13-4 run to finish the quarter with a 17-6 lead.
Greenwood's stifling defense caused Ware Shoals to have trouble simply advancing the ball past halfcourt, and as the turnovers piled up for the Hornets, the Eagles ran out to a whopping 43-15 halftime advantage that removed all doubt as to the outcome and rendered the second half a mere formality.
"(Stevens) done us a favor and played a lot of his young guys in the second half, and that's a class act by him, but we never gave up," Ware Shoals coach Tim Gaines said. "We keep working hard and we're going to get over the hump here before long."
In all, 12 players scored for Greenwood, led by guard Jarryd Coleman's 16 points. D.J. Wright joined him in double figures with 10 points. Ware Shoals' Juwan Abney scored a game-high 22 and was the only Hornet to score in double figures.
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