Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Heart, chemistry and character are producing huge dividends for Stratford’s boys basketball team this winter, Knights coach Troy Johnson said.
Stratford is out to a 13-3 start after wins over Timberland and Ashley Ridge last week. The Knights defeated Timberland 58-48 in overtime on Thursday and followed that up with a 69-61 win over the Foxes on Friday, also in overtime.
“This team has great kids and I’ve got to hand it to the parents,” Johnson said. “This is one of the best teams I’ve coached because of how they carry themselves on and off the court.
“In the past, we may have had better individual players but this team is a cohesive unit and that’s carrying us right now.”
Against Timberland, the Knights trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half but gradually chipped away and forced overtime. Once there, Stratford blanked the Wolves 10-0 in the extra session.
“When we got it to overtime, Demetre (Rivers) said he’s not losing,” Johnson said.
Rivers, a senior forward, had a game-high 35 points for the Knights and the final four points to seal it.
“We feed off him,” Johnson said. “When he’s playing well, everybody plays well.”
The Mercer signee had 29 points in the win over Ashley Ridge, including 11 of Stratford’s 19 overtime points. He clinched the win for Stratford with eight free throws in the final 1:15.
He enters Region 7-AAAA play averaging 24 points per game
Senior forward Thad Thompson is second in scoring at 8.8 points per game followed by senior guard Rashad Palmer (7.7 PPG) and senior guard Marquise Calvary (6.1 PPG).
Rivers and Thompson are the top two rebounders, averaging close to double figures.
Thompson and Palmer had nine each against Ashley Ridge, while Antonio Stinson had eight points.
This week marks the start of the trip through the Region 7-AAAA slate for Stratford. The Knights traveled to rival Goose Creek on Tuesday after press time. They host West Ashley on Jan. 21 in their second region game.
“Now, the nightmare begins,” Johnson said. “Goose Creek is ranked No. 1. Wando is ranked no. 5. West Ashley is a traditional basketball power and Cane Bay has Jiquan Hammond, who can light it up any night.”
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