Balanced Durham Academy bumps NCSSM

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 10:09 PM

DURHAM In a matchup that featured two of the more-talented big men in the area, Durham Academy took down N.C. School of Science and Mathematics 72-54 with a balanced attack in Kirby Gymnasium on Monday.

Forward Alston Thompson scored 15 points for the Cavaliers, but the 6-6 junior had plenty of help. Four of his teammates scored in double figures, including 17 from forward Ryan Hester and 16 by sharpshooter David Oglesby.

NCSSM’s Justice Obasohan (20 points) had a solid game, but the Unicorns stumbled in the fourth quarter.

NCSSM (7-7) survived an 18-0 run by the Cavaliers over the second and third quarters to cut the lead to 50-46 on a banked 3-pointer by Obasohan at the end of the third. But DA (12-6) took control with a quick 9-2 run to start the third.

“We tried to get the ball inside to Alston and Ryan,” Cavaliers coach Tim McKenna said. “I thought that was an area where we could do some good things. We’ve been doing some good things the last couple games, where both those guys have played well.”

With most of the attention on Thompson and Obasohan, Hester was able to do solid work on the inside, and Oglesby was able to knock down jumpers.

“(Thompson’s) the straw that stirs the drink for us, but Ryan Hester’s been playing real well the last two weeks,” McKenna said. “He’s really finishing around the basket. David Oglesby’s been shooting it well, and (point guard) Cam Brown’s been doing a good job running the team. We’ve had different guys step up and make some big plays for us. We’ve been pretty balanced, and that’s something we’ve been happy about.”

The Unicorns have some good inside-outside balance with point guard Michael Kearney (10 points), shooting guard Harrison Lee (16 points, four 3-pointers) and Obasohan, and the trio helped NCSSM to a 29-20 lead in the second quarter against a DA team that plays tough defense. But Kearney got in foul trouble and played like it, and the Unicorns’ offense wasn’t the same.

He’s the catalyst for our team, especially on offense,” NCSSM coach Derryl Britt said. “He gets us going, he gets us into our sets, but he got into foul trouble. Going into the second half, he was playing with foul trouble, and that was in his head. He wound up fouling out, which totally took us out of what we like to do. That was hard for my guys.”

Kearney fouled out with four minutes remaining, but the Unicorns already were down 11. They depended a little too much on Obasohan in the fourth quarter, too, and though he played well, he needed some help.

“Their big man played real well,” McKenna said. “He did a good job of bringing Alston away from the basket, and he made some big shots. He also did a good job taking Alston off the dribble a couple times. But as we settled down and did a better job on their point guard, that shut some other things down for them and opened up some stuff for us in transition.”

Britt said his team was looking forward to the matchup between Obasohan and Thompson, and both big men had good and bad moments, including a technical foul called on Obasohan in the fourth quarter.

The trouble for the Unicorns, Britt said, was some sluggishness from the holidays, a situation unique to his school.

“I think we lost our focus,” Britt said. “We got fatigued. We’re coming off of the Christmas break, where our kids go home for almost three weeks. Last week, we had three games, and this week, we have another three games, so our kids got a little fatigued, and we lost our focus on what we were trying to do offensively. We can’t afford to do that; we’re not a good enough team to let that happen.”