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SHALLOTTE—Fresh off an overtime win against the defending conference champion, the Brunswick Community College men’s basketball team was ripe for a letdown.
But there was no letdown—just another beat-down—when the Dolphins hosted archrival Cape Fear Community College last Wednesday in the West Brunswick High School gym.
Myles Holley and Leon Spencer combined for 33 points and 22 rebounds in the 98-77 victory. It was the eighth win in a row for BCC, which improved to 10-1 in the Carolinas Junior College Conference and 20-2 overall.
“We came out and played with a lot of intensity,” said Holley, a freshman forward who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“We knew this was a big rival game for the school so we had it in our mind that we were going to hit them and hit them early.”
The Dolphins did just that, building a 40-31 lead in the first half. After Cape Fear got within two points in the second half, BCC outscored the Sea Devils 48-19 in the final 12:20.
BCC coach Walter Shaw said he thought his team’s depth made a difference. Tavon Waters came off the bench to score 14 points and fellow backup Jeremy Basnight added 12.
“I think our depth wore on them. We average 14 guys a night,” Shaw said. “There are certain guys that are bigger pieces than others, but we have learned to compensate when things don’t work out.”
Spencer had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Montarrio Haddock had 11 points and Montel Smith had five points and five assists for the Dolphins.
Cape Fear’s Trishtan Johnson made five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 27 points and Xavier Kilby chipped in 19 points.
Brandon Baskins contributed 17 points, five rebounds and three steals and Randolph Howell had 13 rebounds for the Sea Devils (8-3 conference, 12-7 overall).
Cape Fear led 6-5 before the Dolphins seized control with a 13-2 run. Waters, Basnight and Holley each had two baskets as BCC grabbed an 18-8 lead with 12:57 remaining in the first half.
A 10-2 run by the Sea Devils cut the deficit to six points, but the Dolphins pushed the lead back to 40-31 at halftime.
“We’re a second-half team, but we came out the first half and put them away,” Holley said. “We dug them too deep in the hole for them to get out.”
Early in the second half, Cape Fear put together a 10-1 run to close the gap to 48-46. It was 50-48 when Spencer grabbed an offensive rebound and threw down a one-handed dunk, pulling part of the net off the rim.
As Spencer celebrated by pounding his fist into his chest, Cape Fear coach Ryan Mantlo was called for a technical foul. Waters made both free throws to give BCC a 54-48 lead with 12:18 left.
Another technical foul was called on Cape Fear’s bench 14 seconds later, sparking a 6-0 run by the Dolphins. Cape Fear never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Officials called four technical fouls, all in the second half, including three against Cape Fear.
“It was a physical game with two high-energy teams,” Shaw said. “Kids are going to play physical and stuff can happen.”
Coming into the game, Shaw said BCC’s goal was to keep fresh bodies on Kilby, a 6-8 sophomore center from Arizona who transferred to Cape Fear from Colorado State.
“Our goal was to run him to death,” Shaw said. “We knew that if we got him moving too much, kept subbing fresh bodies on him, he’s a big key to what they do. He’s a really good player.”
Shaw was pleased with the defensive effort. The Dolphins had a 57-43 advantage in rebounds and held the Sea Devils to 35 percent shooting.
“We played some pretty good defense tonight. The one thing we can do a lot of times is we can play tough ‘D’ a long time and we don’t really get in foul trouble because we play a lot of guys.
“They may call a lot of fouls, but we may not necessarily be in foul trouble. We’re going to play our style regardless of what happens, and we’re not forced to change because of our depth.”
After sitting out the previous game, Basnight played 12 minutes against Cape Fear after Haddock got in early foul trouble.
“One thing about our team is just because they don’t play doesn’t mean they can’t play. It just depends on how the game goes,” Shaw said. “Jeremy had a good day in practice yesterday. He was our first sub off the bench.”
Holley said the team feeds off its defense.
“This is a championship team. All we got to do is stay together and stay focused, which we’re really doing. If we do that for the rest of the season we’ll be a championship team. We’ll win the conference and we make it to Kansas (for the national tournament).”
BCC, which has won its last six games against Cape Fear, will visit the Sea Devils on Feb. 22.
“We just know that when we go back over there it’s going to be a war,” Shaw said.
Cape Fear 31 46—77
Brunswick 40 58—98
Cape Fear scoring: Johnson 27, Kilby 19, Baskins 17, Cross 7, Howell 4, McClenny 3.
Brunswick scoring: Holley 17, Spencer 16, Waters 14, Basnight 12, Haddock 11, Smith 5, Hailey 5, Jones 5, Jackson 5, Shepherd 4, Hovermale 2, Taylor 2.
Doug Rutter is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at email@example.com