Monday, January 23, 2012

Fayette Academy girls win key region basketball games


The “Outside-In” approach worked for both the Fayette Academy girls and St. George’s boys basketball teams as they rolled to key mid-season Division 2A West-2 victories Friday night at St. George’s.

Samantha Reeves, as usual, had her way inside with 14 points in little more than a half of action. But it was the four 3-pointers from senior Victoria Crawford that really kept the path clear for the Vikings (19-1, 7-0) to score a 51-31 rout of St. George’s (11-6, 4-3).

And after watching inside players on both sides largely negate each other for a half, St. George’s guards Alec Mulvihill and Alex Bran exploded in the third period to push the Gryphons (14-5, 5-1) into first place with a 58-49 decision over Fayette Academy (16-6, 4-2).

“It’s was kind of a strange game. I know didn’t have a really good night. But we switched some things around, and Alec really took off,” said Bran, who finished with 15 points while Mulvihill led all scorers with 23.

Mulvihill’s push actually started in the final minutes of the second quarter, when he hit a three, then came back with a quick layup off a steal by senior Drew Bishop to give the Gryphons a 24-21 lead.

Bran and Mulvhill then opened the second half with 3-pointers to make it 30-21, and spent the rest of the quarter burning the Vikings from just about anywhere on the court as St. George’s went into the fourth quarter with a 46-31 bulge.

“We started to work some down screens and ball screens to get them open, and it worked pretty well,” St. George’s coach Jeff Ruffin said. “We’ve got a long way to go but this is a good win against a Fayette Academy team that has played well together since they were in eighth grade.”

Brandon Hill, St. George’s massive 6-9 center was hemmed in by early foul trouble. Adding to the traffic jam, the Vikings inserted 6-5 sophomore Gage Friedman down low along with 6-5 senior Ethan Moffatt (19 points) and his 6-5 junior brother Alex (10 points).

“We went for as much size as we could, but then our point guard (Brennan Bowling) got two quick fouls . We had to bring Ethan outside for ball-handling, and that really hurt us,” said Vikings’ coach Keith Cox, who also got 12 points from Ryan Miller.

In the girls game, CBU commitment Samantha Reeves showed she’s got all the shots from the baseline to 10 feet out, and delivered several beautiful feeds to teammates. Her junior point guard sister Emily added 10 points, including a couple of bombs from beyond the arc.

But the real wrinkle that helped open things up for Vikings’ 18th straight win was the wing shooting of Crawford, who hit three from long range to help her team to a 30-17 halftime lead, and another in the third, when the Vikings built the edge to 48-26.

“She starts hitting shots like that and it forces teams to loosen up inside,” Samantha Reeves said.

Crawford said that kind of shooting isn’t an every night thing, but said “I got one early and felt good.”

After his team’s second league win in as many nights, Fayette coach Rick Sullivan said, “We did what we had to do,” and added that kind of shooting from Crawford “could really help us open things up down the line.”

St. George’s coach Scott Crockett said it caught him by surprise. “With them you practice concentrating on the sisters (Reeves) … she came out of nowhere. Didn’t do anything against us the last time … but tonight she came up big. And we didn’t play very well at all.”

Eighth grader Brandi Beasley and junior Brook Wertner each scored eight for the Gryphons.