Prep Basketball: Lions blitz Rockford East to move down state
By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Going into their IHSA Class 3A Super Sectional matchup, the Rockford East E-Rabs assumed they would have one advantage against their much bigger opponent: speed.
They were wrong. The Peoria Lions used not only their size, but a fast, pressing defense to race past East 77-59 to move on to the state semifinals.
“Size is always an advantage,” Peoria coach Dan Ruffin said. “When that size can play, it helps.”
Things started well for East. Darshawn Pumphrey King scored 6 early points and after losing a brief lead, the E-Rabs only trailed 16-14 after the first quarter.
But from there, 6-foot-10-inch Kevin Jordan, 6-foot-7-inch Trey Kellum and 6-foot-6-inch Shamar Hill frustrated the E-Rabs with their length.
“They’re a real good basketball team,” East coach Roy Sackmaster said. “You see why they’re ranked as highly as they are. With the length and the athleticism that they bring, we had issues with that and trouble with that.”
Kellum did much of his damage in the second quarter. The senior scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Adonis Foote led the way for the Lions with 16 points.
East had trouble with free throws and rebounding against the size, but at the end of the day, it was the Peoria press causing 21 East turnovers that made the difference.
“They started throwing different pressures and traps and we got a little tentative,” Sackmaster said. “We wanted to be a little more aggressive, but in the second quarter, we were a little deer in headlights.”
East did make one last run late. Javon Henderson, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, hit several big 3s and Pumphrey-King hit several late baskets to help East to pull within 13 to start the fourth quarter.
But the size again was too much, as turnovers led to easy baskets and several emphatic Peoria dunks to top off the win.
While unhappy with the loss, Pumphrey-King said he and his teammates will be able to look back at this season fondly.
“It feels good to get East back up there further than it’s been in a long time,” he said.
Posted March 14, 2012
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