Kennedy outruns South Carroll Rust shows as Cavaliers lose in 3A West playoff

March 05, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

WHEATON -- In a half-court offense, things were just fine for the South Carroll Cavaliers in their Class 3A West region playoff game against Kennedy last night.

It was when things got a little fast-paced and hectic that South Carroll had its problems -- and that was a little too often against an athletic Kennedy team.

Playing its first game in two weeks, South Carroll came out rusty and spent the rest of the night trying to catch up, never quite getting there in a 63-53 loss.

"Early on, I thought we played like a team that hadn't played in two weeks. We were getting the good shots, but they weren't falling," said South Carroll coach Jim Carnes.

South Carroll (14-7) missed its last eight shots of the first quarter to fall behind, 24-9, before senior guard John Ely (19 points) got going from three-point range and the Cavaliers' offense settled in.

With the offense working, the Cavaliers' zone defense -- with a little pressure -- was able to harness the Kennedy offense.

A baseline drive from senior forward Matt Steppling (16 points, nine rebounds) got the Cavaliers within two at 41-39 with 2: 05 left in the third quarter, but that's as close as they got.

Kennedy forward Tyjuan Campbell (24 points) converted a three-point play with 1: 10 left and Musa Kamara followed with a basket off a fast break to push the lead back up to 46-39 at the end of three periods.

Kamara opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and the Kennedy lead was back up to 10. South Carroll never got any closer than eight the rest of the way.

"They played some good pressure defense and we didn't handle their box-and-one at times," said Steppling. "We didn't expect them to be that athletic. They were quick and kept a lot of pressure on us, Our point guards did a good job."

After Kennedy went on a 12-0 run to end the first quarter, Ely got South Carroll back in the game with his three-point range.

He opened the second quarter with three-pointers on South Carroll's first two possessions and added two free throws to cut the Kennedy lead to 24-17. Late in the first half, he had two more threes to finish the quarter with 14 points.

"We hadn't played in two weeks and the [first-round] bye hurt us," said Steppling. "Once we found our rhythm and John started hitting the threes, we were OK. John's been a catalyst for us all year."

After Steppling's driving layup late in the third quarter cut the Kennedy lead to 41-39, South Carroll had its hands on the ball a number of times but couldn't hold on to it.

Shortly after, Campbell connected on the three-point play to give Kennedy, which played a more patient fourth quarter on offense to force South Carroll out of its zone, some breathing room.

Carnes said he couldn't have asked for anything more out of a team that won 11 more games than it did last year.

"It was a great year -- much more than I expected," he said. "We had good kids, good students and they were a lot of fun to work with. The effort was there all year."

Pub Date: 3/05/97

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