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Devil teams far ahead of nearby rival Fulton

Devil teams far ahead of nearby rival Fulton

By KEVIN WEAKS
Messenger Sports
Crossing the state line, South Fulton might as well have been heading to the other side of the tracks.
The Red Devils traveled a few blocks north of their campus into the Bluegrass State for a pair of easy wins over their crosstown neighbors. Sweeping the regular season series in convincing fashion, the SF girls won 61-29 while the boys pulled away in the third quarter for a 76-65 triumph that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.
In both games, it was a case of teams heading into opposite directions.
The SF girls (19-5) have now won 12 of their last 13 games, while the Lady Bulldogs (3-11) have dropped nine straight games. South Fulton’s boys (16-9) have won six straight, while the Bulldogs (8-12) have been on the short end in 10 of their last 12 games.
Both groups are back in action in their respective leagues on Thursday, South Fulton visiting Union City in District 14A play and Fulton City hosting Hickman County in First District action. SF will then close its season at Hickman County on Saturday.
SF 61, Fulton 29 (G)
Converting turnovers into transition layups by Taleeah Cross and Ka-lon Martin on the Lady Bulldogs’ first two possessions kick-started the onslaught as SF went on to go ahead 18-2 after one period and 37-8 at the half.
Taylor Rodgers knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, while Martin had four points in the opening period for SF. Then, Sydney Easterwood scored six points in the second frame for the Devilettes.
“We just asked kids to get up and down the floor, have some fun and shoot some open shots,” SF head coach Curt Lee said. “The turnovers they committed early helped us get some open shots.”
Now in the middle of a stretch where his team will play seven games in a two-week stretch, Lee spent much of the first half making wholesale lineup changes between his starters and top reserves. On five occasions in the first half, Lee swapped players five at a time.
“I had an opportunity to play a deep bench, and we need some rest this week,” Lee said. “The fact that we’re playing four games this week after three last week, it gave some players a little rest. I’m not sure playing so many games hasn’t hurt our conditioning. We run a lot in practice. So, we’ll get a hard workout (today) and get ready for Union City on Thursday.”
Melissa Mora had 12 of her game-high 21 points in the third period for the Lady Bulldogs, but it was no match for SF’s balance. Cross opened the period with a basket inside, and Laken Haley hit a three as the Devilettes scored the first seven points of the third. Easterwood’s baseline 10-footer at the third horn put the visitors ahead 54-20.
Rodgers led SF with 13 points, while Martin finished with 12. Cross, Haley and Easterwood all had eight.
SF 76, Fulton 65 (B)
The Devils countered size with speed, attacking Fulton’s guards to force turnovers — a strategy that resulted in transition baskets and turned a one-point game at the intermission into an 18-point South Fulton lead after three periods.
“We thought that, in first half, they got every 50-50 ball, and that’s why the score was what it was,” SF head man Wes Miller said. “We told our players that if they would rebound and get the 50-50 balls, they can get in transition for some easy shots, and that’s what we did in the second half. We rebounded better in the second half, and we were able to get in transition.”
The Redmen had no answer for Fulton big men Jordan Miller and Khalil Frame in the first period, the two accounting for  all 17 points as the teams were knotted at the break.
Led by Harrison Hawks’ 15 points in the first half, SF was able to match the bigger Bulldogs point-for-point, even going ahead 32-29 late in the period as T.J. Ingram took a steal in for a layup.
South Fulton led 34-33 at the break and then broke it open early in the third as Keshawn McManus scored twice inside while Clint Wells knocked down an 18-footer and converted a three-point play for a 43-34 lead at 5:53.
Wells had eight points, including a trey, and McManus added six in the period. Frame, meanwhile, had more fouls (two) than points (zero) in the quarter as SF rolled out to a 59-41 advantage. The score only tightened at the end as Fulton scored a late flurry against SF reserves.
Hawks finished with 26 points to lead a Devil quartet in double figures, followed by Wells with 15, Tevaris James with 13 and McManus with 10. McManus also had 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists, while Hawks added six assists and Ingram had three assists and three steals
“When you get four in double figures, you’re supposed to win,” Miller said. “We were spreading it around, and I like to see that.”
Miller topped all players with 28 points, and Frame finished with 17.

Published in The Messenger 2.6.13

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