Flyers Get Fourth Win in a Row
When the Sandhills Flyers began the new year with four losses in five games, coach Mike Apple was pretty sure he knew what the problem was.
Saturday afternoon at The O’Neal School gym, the Flyers defeated Caldwell Community College 111-94 for their fourth win in a row. They exceeded the century mark in each of the conquests, improving to 19-5 overall and 3-2 in the Region X.
Daquain Towns helped set the pace, scoring 31 points and handing out seven assists. Raheem Washington and Raheem Jolliffe added 24 and 18 points, respectively, off a Flyer bench that accounted for 56.
“I think teams go through things throughout the season for whatever reason,” Apple said, thinking back to his team’s slump. “The big thing was that we slowed down and now they’ve speeded it up. I think that plays to most of these guys’ strengths.”
Trevor Cole made a long two, and then a three, during a 9-2 Flyer start. The 6-foot-4 Washington, scored six baskets in the first half, four on putbacks, as the teams remained within four points of each other most of the way.
The half ended with about a 35-foot three at the buzzer by Jolliffe that made it 51-48 Flyers.
According to Flyers’ assistant coach Tony Chapman, Washington, a freshman, had been a little reluctant to assert himself on the offensive end until recently. He has averaged 16.5 points per game over the last four.
“I couldn’t do it without my teammates, especially the point guards who get me the ball,” Washington said.
Following the intermission, Towns scored the first of his 22 second-half points on a pretty floater. But led by 6-0 guard Adam Raye, who finished with 27 points, the Cobras kept matching the Flyers almost point for point.
With 12:44 remaining in the game, the Flyers committed their seventh foul. Raye made both halves of the one-and-one opportunity. The lead was just one at 66-65. Playing without star guard Kendall Jones, who scored 26 points in a win over the Flyers three weeks ago, the Cobras showed no sign of fading.
“”My biggest concern was that we couldn’t get a run going,” Apple said. “The game was so choppy with a lot of fouls. Honestly, with a team that doesn’t have a lot of depth, that’s playing into their hands.
“What we want is three or four minutes of continuous action to make teams have to adjust and rest guys.”
It was 71-69 Flyers when T.J. Gill was fouled while draining a three-pointer. The South View product turned it into a four-point play. Moments later, Erik Ewing put away an offensive rebound, making it 79-70 at the 10-minute mark.
The Cobras were within five when Towns finished his own miss for the first of the 10 points he scored during an 18-6 run that made it 99-82 with four minutes remaining.
“We had them running up and down the court,” Towns said. “They kind of just gave out after we got the four-point play.”
The Flyers made 43 of their 78 shots from the field (55.1 percent) and 18 of 23 free throws (78.3 percent). Towns was 13-for-20 from the field and Washington was 11-for-14, Dre Huntley matched the seven assists by Towns on a night the team handed out 29.
“Before we played Central Carolina this week,” Towns said, “we talked about everybody getting touches and everybody getting good looks.”
One of the things Apple hopes will enable the Flyers to keep the tempo of games high is team depth. They travel to first place Davidson County CC (22-2, 5-1) on Wednesday.
Led by Washington and Jolliffe, non-starters have supplied an average of 60 points over the last four games. The emergence of Washington, who scored his 24 points in just 15 minutes of action, has been an important part of that.
“The thing that’s so nice about Raheem (Washington) is his development,” Apple said. “He’s really come a long way since the beginning of the year. He’s feeling a lot more confident and confidence makes you quicker. He was a handful for those guys to guard around the rim tonight.”
Caldwell 48 46 — 94
Sandhills 51 60 — 111
Caldwell: Jackson 7 3-4 17, Townes 4 1-3 9, Raye 9 6-7 27, Ford 0 0-0 0, Dula 3 0-0 8, Eppley 0 0-0 0, Keene 1 0-0 2, Bennett 6 8-10 20, Palmer 3 5-6 11. Totals 33 23-30 94.
Sandhills: Collins 1 0-0 3, Towns 13 5-6 31, Cole 3 0-0 7, Craft 2 2-2 6, Lotharp 3 2-3 8, Gill 1 1-1 4, Jolliffe 4 6-8 18, Morrison 0 0-0 0, Huntley 3 0-1 6, Washington 11 2-2 24, Jones 0 0-0 0, Pride 0 0-0 0, Ewing 2 0-0 4. Totals 43 18-23 111.
Three-point goals: (C) 5 (Raye 3, Dula 2); (S) 7 (Jolliffe 4, Gill, Collins, Cole).
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