With an outstretched arm knocking the ball loose to create an odd-man rush, the quick hands and quicker feet were in perfect harmony.
The Glenn Hills boys basketball team’s defensive pressure harried Evans into turnovers that led to easy points in a 70-41 victory in the 100 Black Men of Augusta’s Thanksgiving Basketball Classic at Richmond Academy on Friday.
“For two days out of the week, we focus on defense,” Spartans coach Travis McRae said. “They have to pressure the ball without fouling.”
Many of the Knights’ attempted passes were deflected or stolen.
Glenn Hills’ Maurice O’Bannon demonstrated showed his team’s defensive dominance during consecutive stops in the first quarter. After he had a monster block inside, O’Bannon had a steal on the next trip.
O’Bannon’s teammates, including Aubrey McRae, did most of the finishing in transtition to give Glenn Hills (1-0) an 11-point lead after the first quarter.
Jacob Buchanan had a team-high 13 points for Evans (2-1), which never challenged.
The Spartans went ahead by as many as 33 points as the turnovers mounted.
There was a stretch where both teams hurried too many passes or were out of control with the ball, but Glenn Hills soon returned to its quick-strike scoring.
With the Spartans already up 28 points at the end of the third quarter, Aubrey McRae made yet another steal and delivered the ball to Devin Mikel to close a 10-0 run following a 5-0 spurt by Evans to start the fourth quarter.
Glenn Hills, which faces Allatoona today in a tournament at Morgan County, also won the battle of the boards, with second- and third-chance shots going in by buckets from Naquan Turner and his teammates.
Turner’s 13 points tied with Aubrey McRae for the team high.
“I was pleased for the most part,” Travis McRae said. “If we clean up those easy misses, we’ll be fine.”