Historically, the Arts & Sciences Patriots have provided, in the best of times, as good a test as any team in Chattanooga for the Howard Hustlin' Tigers. In lesser times, they have provided a measuring stick.
Tuesday night, the Tigers dominated the Patriots from the opening tip with their Brandon Walters-led big lineup. But then, up by 13 midway through the second quarter, Howard coach Walter McGary subbed out five smaller and seemingly quicker players.
After beating CSAS with his big 'uns, he proceeded to beat them just as badly with the little 'uns.
Lorenzo McCauley came off the bench to lead the shock troops with 15 points in less than two quarters to provide a more satisfying than usual 71-46 victory. The win is Howard's 10th in a row.
The mass substitution had the desired effect right away as McCauley scored six points in an 8-0 run. The bonus came on the defensive end as the second team kept CSAS off the scoreboard for over 3:30.
While McCauley and the second platoon provided the shock, Walters and fellow post player Xavier Harris provided the awe. Walters, a 6-foot-8 all-state offensive lineman who has opened up his recruiting to basketball coaches, finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, while Harris' line included 12 points, four rebounds and three steals.
“I was very pleased with the effort from both units,” McGary said. “If they turn it into a rivalry between units, it can only be an asset."
“The McCauley kid is a scorer, one of our captains and someone we desperately need to be a contributor,” the coach added. “He's struggled with his confidence at time this season, but today, he got knocked onto the floor a couple of times early on and that kind of woke him up. He really seemed to take the role of a leader today.”
The two-platoon look also allows McGary to rest his troops though a busy stretch run and beyond. Beginning Thursday night at East Hamilton, the Tigers have six games in 13 days leading into district tournament play.
Special mention has to go to shock trooper Cudjoe Young, whose only field goal was an Alley-Oop pass from McCauley that he turned into a spectacular layup and an even more spectacular one-point landing on the hardwood. He was unable to continue in the game, and was having ice applied to his tailbone following the game.
“They've got to go all out to keep playing,” McGary said. “No letups. That's what they did tonight.”
Patrick Taylor was the only Patriot in double figures with 11 points.
Sorry Second Half Taints CSAS Girls' Victory
One of the best halves of basketball the Arts & Sciences girls have played all season was barely enough to offset a dismal second half as the Lady Patriots defeated Howard for the second time this season, 53-44.
Frustrating the Lady Tigers with their press, crashing the boards with abandon and taking all of their shots from inside the arc, the visitors took a 39-14 lead into the dressing room at the half. But another team came out for the second half – a team that coach Lee Zeigler has seen before, to his displeasure.
“We got complacent,” he said. “Our problem all year has been putting four quarters together. But that was the conversation even before we got them into the locker room – not finishing off the game. I didn't even have to bring it up.
“A lot of it is youth,” Ziegler added. “We've started three freshman most of the year, and a fourth starter had never really played. But we went to playing a half-court man defense that we haven't practiced nearly enough, and that's my fault.”
One of those freshmen, Ketunah Bellen, was one of the first half stars with 10 points. But she was scoreless the rest of the way; as a team CSAS managed only14 points in the second half as Howard cut a 23-point deficit to seven in the closing moments.
Samantha Maffett prevented the collapse from being total, scoring six of her 17 points in the second half. Brooke Mitchell was the other CSAS player to finish in double digits, scoring 10 with five rebounds to her effort.
Howard's spark was provided by Deroneasha Smatt, whose 23 points including 10 in the third quarter.
Arts & Sciences 19 20 8 6 – 53
Howard 7 7 13 17 – 44
ARTS & SCIENCES (53) – Little 8, Keturah Bellen 10, McElvain, Brooke Mitchell 10, Samantha Maffett 17, Montgomery, R. Bellen 6, Smith 2.