Gabe Hogan (32) navigates in mid-air against a South Aiken Baptist defender during Palmetto Christian Academy's win Friday night.
The Palmetto Christian Academy boys basketball team was heavily favored against visiting South Aiken Baptist, this past Friday night.
The Eagles took another step toward being a great SCISA 2A team by winning big when they were supposed to and not playing down to the level of competition. Palmetto Christian won 66-20 in a game that was never in doubt.
Gabe Hogan scored 20 points, despite playing less than half the game. He was the beneficiary of playing atop the Eagles 1-3-1 pressure zone defense.
Palmetto Christian's zone made South Aiken's ballhandlers pick up their dribble 30 feet from the basket and try to pass around the long arms of the 6-foot-4-inch Hogan and another Eagle guard. The result was intercepted passes and assists to Hogan, who finished well on the fast breaks.
“We haven't had a half-court set yet,” coach Brian Stanley told his bench with the Eagles leading 12-2.
Hogan scored on six of Palmetto Christian's first nine possessions. “When Gabe comes out fired up, intensity wise – engaged is a key word for him – that's the type of game he can have,” Stanley said afterward.
Palmetto Christian (10-6, 5-0 Region 2) led 51-15 at halftime. “I was glad that we came out with effort and intensity and did what we needed to do,” Stanley said.
The Eagles have now played every region opponent once and begin their second go-round Tuesday night at Thomas Sumter Academy. That game was completed after the Moultrie News went to press.
Dorchester Academy appears to be the toughest conference foe for Palmetto Christian. One week after Thomas Sumter, the Eagles will travel to Dorchester to try to stay atop the standings.
Even with a blowout win and an undefeated region record, Stanley said there is room for improvement: “to continue to communicate. The thing about a 1-3-1, if four guys give you max effort and one doesn't, it's going to have a huge weak link.”
All 12 Eagle players scored. Whenever a team averages more than one point per possession, it shows high offensive efficiency. Palmetto Christian's average was 1.17 points per possession. South Aiken had a 0.36 mark.
Joe Siegwald added 10 points, and J.T. Waters had four points, five assists and a steal. “J.T. is such a competitor,” Stanley said. “The football field carries over to here. He wants to be great. He legitimately hates messing up.”
Girls win big
When Palmetto Christian Academy girls basketball standout Corey Caulder has a big game, that's usually indicative of the entire Eagles' effort.
Friday night, Caulder had 20 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and two blocks in just over one half's playing time of turnover-free minutes. Palmetto Christian won 66-19 over visiting South Aiken Baptist.
Coach Miranda Stanley said the Eagles have been emphasizing rebounding, and if the 5-foot-8-inch sophomore can reach double figures in rebounding, Palmetto Christian is well on its way to accomplishing its goals. Seven different Eagles scored five or more points in the rout.
With its starters out for the majority of the second half, Palmetto Christian was able to give extended time to role players, which could benefit the team as the long season wears on.
Even though the Eagles scored more points in the first quarter (25) than South Aiken scored all game, Stanley still found the experience valuable.
“You learn are your players going to play,” she said. “And, for the girls that don't always get in, you're always teaching.”
Julia Strout had an all-around game of six points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Annie Pascutti and Lizzie Wilson added eight points apiece.
“You have to come to every game prepared,” she added. I tell my girls every game, 'It doesn't matter who we play; we;re always playing a championship game.'”
Palmetto Christian scored at an impressive rate of 1.06 points per possession. South Aiken, by contrast, managed a 0.31 average. The Eagles improved to 12-5 overall and 5-0 in region action.
Throughout the high school basketball season, the Moultrie News will feature different games of the week. Stay up to date with all East Cooper hoops by visiting our sports page at www.MoultrieNews.com/sports.