South Aiken coach Donnie Holland just about dares opposing teams to attempt to shut down All-American candidate Tony Kitchings.
Holland is secure in the knowledge the Thoroughbreds are more than a one-man team. Exhibit No. 1: Six South Aiken players scored in double figures Tuesday night as the Thoroughbreds cruised to a 96-45 victory at Lakeside.
"Tony is definitely the focus, he's the one everybody knows but we're not a one-dimensional team," Holland said. "If you concentrate on him and leave them (perimeter shooters) open, that's fine."
Starting guard Michael Tyler had a game-high 22 points and along with his back court mate, Tarence Callahan lit the fuse for the Thoroughbred's 16-0 explosion to start the game.
South Aiken (3-0) held the Panthers (0-3) scoreless for the first 5:34 in the game and surrendered only four points in the opening period. Callahan was second to Tyler with 15 points.
The Lakeside girls improved to 3-0 with a 64-41 win against the Lady Thoroughbreds. Lauren Glover had 17 points and Sarah Beckenhaur had 16 to lead the Lady Panthers. Hollie Dixon and Tiffany Bell carried South Aiken (0-5) with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Although Kitchings had only 11 points, the 6-foot-10 big man pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked four shots and had three steals. He said he doesn't panic when opposing defenses key on him.
"Last year I would get discouraged when I didn't get a lot of points quick," the University of South Carolina signee said. "This year if I can't get it done offensively, I concentrate on other parts of the game."
The Thoroughbreds connected on 9 of 19 three-pointers against Lakeside. Kitchings said his teammates will burn any kind of defense designed solely on stopping him.
"Teams worry about me so much that they forget about our three-point shooters," Kitchings said. "They're just hurting themselves."
Mindauguas Jokulis, a transfer from Lithuania, had 13 points for South Aiken. The 6-foot-6 forward was good on 6 of 10 shots and grabbed five rebounds and had seven steals.
Panthers coach Norm Cox said his team was overwhelmed from the opening tip.
"We thought they were going to press but you can't simulate their quickness in practice," Cox said of the Thoroughbred's tenacious defense. "An intimidation factor played a part in us losing our composure."
Lakeside girls coach Jill Machovec was encouraged with her team's relentless intensity. The two teams swapped the lead three times early on but the Lady Panthers took an 8-6 lead when Stokes scored on a pass from Alexis Holman with 5:54 left in the first quarter.
"They came out the way I wanted them to," Machovec said. "They took control and were able to hold onto the lead."
Lakeside girls 64, South Aiken 41
SOUTH AIKEN (41) -- Holli Dixon 16, Erin Marks 2, Nicole Armstrong 2, Tiffany Bell 15, Debbie Williams 2, Emily Rosebury 2, Laura Poston 2. Totals 17 4-12 41.
LAKESIDE (64) -- Alexis Holman 4, Erika Stokes 18, Molly Beckenhaur 7, Lauren Glover 23, Sarah Beckenhaur 12. Totals 30 4-9 64.
South Aiken 12 14 12 3 -- 41
Lakeside 23 13 14 14 -- 64
3-point goals: South Aiken 3 (Dixon 3). Records: Lakeside 3-0. Next game: Lakeside at Harlem, Friday, 7 p.m.