Head Coach Ellis Berry and the Dollarway Cardinals were in need of a win after losing four straight before their match up against the KIPP Delta Hornets Friday night. But they weren't going to get it. Dollarway dropped the game 62-51. The Hornets were coming off of a win over DeWitt, and they were looking to build on that. The Hornets are under the leadership of Head Coach Phillip Lockhart.
It was another rough night for Berry and the Cardinals.
Kavareous Lowe opened scoring with a corner three to get Dollarway on the board. On defense, the Cardinals displayed hustle as they were diving for loose balls and making deflections. Berry advised his guys to pick up at half-court with relentless pressure, forcing the Hornets' rhythm to be thrown off.
On offense, the Cardinals struggled to find success in their half-court game. KIPP took their first lead of the game with 4:13 to play in the first, but the Cardinals quickly responded. Dollarway went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead as they were working to find a flow on offense. However, KIPP took advantage of a lackluster effort on the boards by the Cardinals and were able to battle back. KIPP's Ojay Johnson used his quickness to beat defenders off of the dribble and get into the lane. After one quarter, the Hornets held a one -point lead, and Berry wasn't happy at all.
The Cardinals were running a 2-3 zone on defense, and the Hornets did a nice job of getting in the middle of it. From the middle of the zone, the Hornets were able to create offense. On the other hand, the Cardinals were turning the ball over, and that led to transition opportunities for KIPP. When fouled, the Hornets stepped up to the line and converted to help stretch out their lead.
However, three point shooting kept the Cardinals in the game, but that's the only thing they had going for them offensively. KIPP continued to play nice defense, forcing the Cardinals into multiple turnovers. Those turnovers prevented Dollarway from establishing their half-court offense, and KIPP was able sustain a lead for majority of the second quarter. Johnson's energy on defense for the Hornets fed off to his teammates, allowing the Hornets to be disruptive.
Defense led to offense for KIPP, and at halftime they found themselves with a 29-21 advantage.
The Hornets began the third quarter protecting the perimeter defensively by playing out of a 3-2 zone. However, the Cardinals played with much more composure, and they were able to patiently work themselves closer to the lead. After a steal in transition, Dollarway regained the lead with 4:07 to play in the third. On offense, the Cardinals were patient, but on defense they played with a high sense of urgency.
Berry elected to go with a full-court press, and it gave the Hornets trouble. Lockhart decided to match pressure with pressure, and the Hornets began to play stifling defense themselves. Just as in the first half, KIPP's pressure defense forced turnovers, and that allowed them to recapture the lead. Dollarway played better in the third quarter, but KIPP played even better. The Hornets extended their lead with a three pointer by Da'meeko Johnson that beat the buzzer. Heading into the fourth, KIPP led Dollarway 45-36.
With a nine point lead, the Hornets decided to go with a conservative approach. On the other hand, the Cardinals attempted to speed the Hornets up in attempts to make a comeback. With 5:55 left to play, Dollarway cut KIPP's lead down to five points, making it a two possession game. However, the Hornets didn't let up at all, and their aggressiveness allowed them to push their lead to eight points with 2:52 remaining.
From that point, the Hornets were able to knock down free throws and burn the rest of the clock to hold on to the victory. For Dollarway, Derion Thorn finished with 15 points to lead the team in scoring.