By Brian Paglia
Rare is the game when Stockbridge boys basketball coach Duane Kelley can sit content and silent in his chair on the sideline. He is animated. How animated, though, is usually dictated by his team's defensive performance.
So there was Kelley in the second half Monday, sitting silent, watching the back-and-forth of the game without animation. His No. 8-ranked Tigers had defensively bewildered Dutchtown and eventually earned an 82-50 victory for the effort.
But Kelley took little credit after the game for Stockbridge's thorough dismantling of the Bulldogs on defense. He worries about the offense, or as he puts it, "putting the biscuit in the basket." Stockbridge's defense is the under the guidance of assistants Eldred Taylor and Jason Beard.
"I've got to give it to coach Beard and coach Taylor," Kelley said. "They've really been stressing defense. I know we scored a lot of points, but it's the defense that really triggers what we do. That's all coach Beard and coach Taylor."
Stockbridge (8-1, 6-0 in Region 4-AAAA) has kept opponents under 50 points in three of its last four games and the Tigers extended their winning streak to eight games, a level of consistency that eluded them last season.
That's come from more experience and a consistent effort on the defensive end.
"We were consistently inconsistent last season," Kelley said. "Our maturity level is so much better now. We had a bunch of kids that hadn't played at the varsity level before last year. We didn't have a lot of seniors. Now we have eight."
Dutchtown's undersized lineup yields a frenetic pace from the Bulldogs (2-5, 1-5). But Stockbridge thwarted Dutchtown's fastbreak offense with a zone full-court pressure defense.
Bulldogs turnovers began. Transition points followed. Soon Stockbridge had a 20-5 lead.
And when Dutchtown managed a brief run in the second quarter to cut Stockbridge's lead to 10 twice, Chris Davis prevented things from getting out of hand. He scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half and hit four 3s.
Dante Campbell added 12 points and eight rebounds. Antonio Anthony had nine and Regis Wilbourn had eight. Derrick Brock led Dutchtown with 12 points. The Bulldogs' starters combined for just 18 points.
Dutchtown girls 60, Stockbridge 29
Brittney Strickland scored 24 and the Lady Bulldogs blocked eight shots to stifle the Lady Tigers in a Region 4-AAAA game.
Stockbridge (4-5, 3-3) was forced to drive to the basket. Waiting there were any number of Dutchtown's deep rotation of post players.
Jessica Foster led the Lady Bulldogs (7-1, 5-0) with four blocks to go along with her 12 points and seven rebounds. Courtney Durham and Abria Trice each had two blocks and freshman Jasmine Hill had one.
Amari Moreland led the Lady Tigers with 11.