Tattnall Square boys basketball head coach Jarvis Smith openly admits that the Trojans are a defensive-minded basketball team.
It showed in a big way Friday night at Mount de Sales.
The Trojans ramped up their defensive effort in the final two quarters, holding the Cavaliers to seven total points in the second half for a 42-21 win in the GHSA Region 7A-A opener for both teams.
Tattnall held Mount de Sales to just one field goal in the third quarter, and that came in the final 30 seconds of that span.
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“Our kids have really bought (in) on the defensive end of the floor. Right now, we’re just having a problem scoring the ball,” Smith said. “But we keep preaching to our kids that we’re a defensive team that plays offense. We hang our hats on our defense.”
By the end of the third quarter, the Trojans had the game well in hand with a 19-point lead. It was a far cry from the first half, during which Mount de Sales hung close, trailing by no more than three points in the second quarter.
But Tattnall created a spark to end the first half. Aubrien Kemp’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Trojans a 20-14 lead.
Tattnall carried that energy into the second half and found some offensive rhythm, getting points in the paint and drawing fouls on a 9-0 run that began with a score by Kemp, who also combined with Calvin Slaughter and Will Trevitt to go a combined 4-of-5 from the free-throw line during the next three minutes, points that enabled the Trojans to pull away with the Cavaliers being flustered defensively.
Kemp’s 12 points led Tattnall (9-1), and Sean Brown added 10.
The Cavaliers (5-5) came up with enough offensive answers to stay close in the first half and keep it a one-possession game with Garrett Thomson, Brandon Corbin and Jordan Vaughn each finding their way to the basket.
But that offensive output was limited in the second half, and Tattnall built a cushion.
“In the first half, they did a tremendous job on their zone and slowed us down,” Smith said. “In the second half, the guys came out and played with a little more energy and were able to get up and down a little faster, and it benefitted us in the second half.”
Tattnall’s girls raced out to a big lead in defeating Mount de Sales 57-26.
Led by Ivey Whetsel’s 11 points and Kendra Green’s 10, the Trojans led 38-10 at the half and were able to get a majority of the roster some playing time. Overall, 12 different Tattnall players scored at least a point as the Trojans improved to 10-2.
Mount de Sales (1-8) was led by Donzalae Hollis’s seven points.