With Josey’s defense, Jefferson County’s passes all seemed to be telegraphed or thrown away, and drives in the lane were just as likely to end in a turnover as a shot.
The Eagles used suffocating first-half defense and the transition game to rout the Warriors, 75-45, on Friday afternoon at Richmond Academy during the 100 Black Men of Augusta’s Thanksgiving Basketball Classic.
“That was it,” Josey coach Jabari Levi said about the defense. “We got athletes and we got some quick guys. Instead of me pushing offense, I push defense. I have been preaching defense, defense, defense and discipline.”
Besides giving ball-handlers problems, Josey intercepted passes across the middle or near the basket, holding Jefferson County without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the game and only 12 points in the opening half.
Josey’s Kyle Doyle, Robert Askew and Michael Brown were among the top defenders, and when Jefferson County passes weren’t stolen, a bunch of others wound up getting tossed out of bounds. Jefferson County didn’t score on consecutive possessions until about a minute remained in the second quarter.
With the turnovers leading to fast-break opportunities – including one after a Brown steal turned into a Doyle slam in the first half’s final moments – the Eagles led 38-12 after two quarters. Doyle scored 33 points in the contest, often driving to the hoop and leading the transition offense.
The pace picked up in the second half, with Jefferson County’s LaDerrick Hammond having the hot hand. The sophomore scored 10 of his team-best 19 points in the final eight minutes.
But Josey’s advantage never shrunk to less than 24 in the second half, as Askew used a great spin inside for a three-point play in the third quarter and the Eagles tallied up layup looks to cruise.
“We’ll go back, watch game film, see the mistakes and implement more confidence in the guards,” Warriors coach Shawn Parker said.