Rutland’s Ty’lik Evans is quick to admit that he has been in a bit of a shooting slump lately, especially from behind the 3-point line.
And that continued Friday night in the Hurricanes’ game as Evans managed to hit only 3-of-12 from behind the line but still scored 23 points.
Yet Evans did little else wrong, as he recorded a triple-double by adding 10 assists and 10 steals, leading his team to a 100-61 win over Kendrick.
“When my shot isn’t falling, I just try and get the ball to my teammates and play great defense,” said Evans, who had eight steals and seven assists in the first half alone. “We have a lot of guys who can score on this team, and we feel like once we get going no one can stop us. This was just one of those games where we wanted to get after it defensively, and we knew right away that it was going to work.”
Rutland was out of the gate quick as they jumped to a 27-13 lead after one quarter of play. Jeremy Braswell, who ended the game with 21 points, had 10 points in the first quarter.
The Hurricanes stretched their lead to 46-30 at the half as Evans scored six points and had five assists, but it was the third quarter that brought the fans to their feet. Playing at a frenetic pace, Rutland outscored Kendrick 38-14, putting the Hurricanes within reach of scoring 100 points for the first time this season. Dallas Smith, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, got loose for 10 points in the quarter, while Timori Northcutt added eight.
With the score sitting at 84-50 with four minutes left, Rutland head coach Ron Christian pulled his starters, leaving the rest of the team to try and reach the century mark. To the delight of the fans, the substitutes responded and finally reached 100 on a basket by Jaylyne Brown with just 14 seconds to play.
“It was an overall great performance by our entire team,” said Christian, whose team improved to 21-3 and 14-1 in GHSA Region 2-AAA. “This game was so important to us because it clinched a state playoff berth, and the entire team was aware of that. Scoring 100 points in the game was just icing on the cake, and I am glad those guys came in and gave us the same kind of effort that the starters gave us. They deserve a chance to play, too.”
The Kendrick girls team improved to 14-0 in the region with a 53-30 win over Rutland. The Cherokees jumped out to a 31-4 halftime lead, but Rutland outscored them 18-2 in the third quarter to make a game of it. The Hurricanes actually cut the Kendrick lead to 37-30 early in the fourth quarter on a basket by Patricia Sanders, but Kendrick took advantage of a fatigued Rutland team, scoring the final 16 points. Rutland turned the ball over 46 times.
Rutland, who dropped to 10-5 in the region, was led by Destiny White, who scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds.