Caldwell Community College basketball coach Matt Anderson knew the importance of Wednesday’s Region X game.
His team had just fallen on its home floor to one of the league favorites in Sandhills Community College over the weekend, and were faced with the tough task of entering the hostile environment of Davidson County Community College’s Brinkley Gym. The Cobras came in with a gameplan and it worked perfectly, handing the Storm their first loss in the conference with a grind-it-out 64-51 win.
“We put our backs against the walls and this was a must-win game for us,” said Anderson. “Very few teams have beaten DCCC here, so it is definitely a good win for us. We have a tough conference and we have to continue to work.”
While one coach was pleased, the head man on the opposing bench could not have been more disappointed. Davidson shot just 29.8 percent from the floor in totaling a season low in points. Coach Matt Ridge can live with poor shooting nights, but it was his squad’s lack of hustle that bothered him most.
“We did not compete,” said Ridge. “We gave up a ton of offensive boards, we did not sprint the floor and get easy transition buckets like we normally do. They deserved to win. They were hungrier than us and understood they could not go 0-2 and have a chance to win the league. Caldwell played harder than us and I accept responsibility for that. It falls on my shoulders.”
DCCC led 11-5 in the first five minutes but surrendered an 18-1 run to the Cobras to trail 23-12. The Storm recovered before the half and took the lead back briefly. They scored 12 unanswered to go up 24-23 while Caldwell went without a score for more than seven minutes. CCC did get a 3-pointer by K.J. Jones and dunk by Tyree Griffin just before the half to put them ahead 28-24.
Caldwell slowed the pace even more in the second half while the Storm continued to struggle putting the rock in the hole. The Cobras shot just 38 percent, but their ability to crash the glass gave them multiple chances while it limited possessions for DCCC. Caldwell held a 47-32 rebounding edge.
A Brandon Davis layup tied the game at 32-all in the second half, but Davidson was left chasing the Cobras the rest of the way. The next seven points went to CCC and they were up 46-37 with 9:31 left.
Robert Story knocked down a 3-pointer and Corey Burnette rebounded a free throw for two more points as DCCC closed to within four. Caldwell let it get no closer, running up a 10-0 run to extend the lead to 14 with the clock winding under six minutes. The deficit was reduced to eight after Ace Chalmers hit his third three of the game, but the Cobras were solid from the charity stripe to seal the win.
“That’s a very good team and they’re going to be dangerous in our conference,” said Anderson.
Jones wound up with 20 points and Elijah Hampton had 14. Chalmers had his best game in a Storm uniform with 14 points. The Cobras, 8-8, halted a four-game losing streak.
DCCC (13-3) will travel to Wytheville (Va.) Community College today.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.