Jamie Dickey knows his Stratford Eagles are prone to bursts of scoring.
Hed like to see his team find an offensive flow, for sure, but when those runs come like they did Friday, the 28-year-old head coach wont find much time to complain.
Stratford opened the third quarter with a flurry to pull away from the scrappy Mount de Sales Cavaliers for a 67-54 win Friday night in the GISA Region 2-AAA championship game at McAuley Hall.
Thats what weve been doing the last couple of games, going in little spurts, Dickey said. We dont have a long run, but we have a big enough run and more than one throughout the game, and that usually is the difference.
The Eagles earned their second straight region championship in the process, and Stratford will enter the state tournament next week as one of the favorites.
OShowen Williams led the Eagles with 18 points, while Quintez Cephus added 15 and D.J. Boyd scored 11. Brandon Corbin scored 13 to lead Mount de Sales.
Were not playing at our best potential, but were still winning games, Williams said. I know we can play way better.
Stratford scored the first 10 points of the third quarter -- Cephus and Williams scored all 10 -- to create the first real breathing room of the night, a welcome sight for the Eagles in a very packed and very warm gym. Mount de Sales cut the Stratford lead to six twice in the third quarter, but Stratford answered both times. The final response came on a pair of 3-pointerss by Williams to close the third quarter.
Our main thing was playing team defense, not individual defense, and I think we did that in the second half, Williams said. Then we made some shots.
Mount de Sales couldnt tap into the same offensive rhythm it found in the first half and made just two shots from the field in the fourth quarter and couldnt get closer than nine.
They got a little run on us, and we stop executing and started trying to play one-on-one basketball, Mount de Sales head coach Jim Massey said. Were not good enough to do that. Weve got to execute folks. If we do what were supposed to do, we can stop it.
The Cavaliers were up to the task for a half in a rowdy McAuley Hall. They traded blows with the Eagles for a quarter, leading with a minute left in the first quarter.
Stratford made a pair of free throws to close the first quarter to regain the lead. The Eagles never yielded the lead again, but Mount de Sales stayed within six for the rest of the first half, and the Cavaliers were down just four at the half.
The Eagles now enter the state tournament with their eyes fixated on playing at Mercer for a championship in a few weeks. But Dickey said they wont look past their first-round opponent, particularly not after the Eagles were upset in the first round last year.
Massey also pointed toward the state tournament.
I told our guys here that everyone starts over now, he said. Were two wins away from playing at Mercer, just like everybody else.