HIGH POINT – T.W. Andrews clamped down defensively to beat archrival High Point Central.
The Red Raiders, forcing turnovers in droves, pulled away to lead by double digits much of the second half and beat the Bison 67-44 in nonconference boys basketball Tuesday at Central’s Coach Carter Court.
In the girls game, Andrews kept Central in check defensively and did enough offensively to win 57-10.
“It was our defense,” Red Raiders boys coach Cory Dumas said. “A staple of our team this year will be our defense. As our defense goes our offense will grow. That’s really key for us. If we play tough defense, everything else will fall into place. I think that was really the difference in us turning it on.”
Jalen Bennett and DJ Jackson each scored 16 points to lead Andrews (1-0), which started a little slow but scored on five straight possessions midway through the first quarter to take the lead for good. Keshawn Gunthrop added 13 points.
The Red Raiders, trailing by five after the Bison scored on their first two possessions and later tacked on a free throw, used a 12-0 run to lead by seven and added another transition basket to lead 14-5 at the end of the first.
Andrews stretched its lead to 14 with two minutes left in the second before taking a 27-19 lead into halftime. The Red Raiders fended off Central’s runs to stay within reach and stretched their lead to 26 in the final minute of the game.
“It was very encouraging,” Dumas said. “It really came with growing pains last year. We took some lumps last year, because a lot of my guys were sophomores. But now that they’re juniors, it feels good to see them have some success with what we’ve been working on the last year.”
Tre Hill scored 13 points to lead the Bison (0-1). Zak Price, Alex Cook and Jayden Griffin each added eight points as Central got within eight in the third before whittling Andrews’ 20-point lead to 13 with 5:11 left in the game.
But the Red Raiders held on down the stretch.
“It’s a decent start,” Bison coach Joel Battle said. “We’ve got a lot to work on and continue learning. We’ve got a very inexperienced team. But, first game of the season, you’ve got plenty of time. You just don’t want that ‘plenty of time’ to stretch too far.
“That’s just what they did – they sped us up,” he said of Andrews’ defense. “At the end of the day, we didn’t handle the pressure very well. Give them credit for doing that. And that kind of changed our mindset. When we got in the halfcourt, we were fine. But when they sped us up, they caused us some trouble.
“Obviously that’s something we’ve got to work on. And we’ll fix it.”
Zaria Scott scored 10 points to lead Andrews (1-0), which did a solid job creating turnovers on defense – which it traditionally does – but struggled at times to finish at the basket. Nijayah Townes and Jada Butler each added eight.
“First game – that’s what it looked like,” Lady Raiders coach John Shearin said. “Several blown opportunities. Several missed assignments. Several mistakes. Once you do this for a while, though, it’s what you expect for the first game. We just hope we can clean it up.”
Andrews scored the final seven points of the first to lead by nine, then added 16 of the first 17 points of the second to lead by 24 before taking a 31-9 lead into halftime. Its lead peaked at 48 in the final minutes of the game.
“We’re doing some good things,” Shearin said. “We see the wheels turning. We’ve just got to get a little more detailed in what we’re trying to do. We’re always pleased to get a win, so we’re happy with that. And we’re also happy with the chance to see things in real game play.”
Ava Vaughn scored five points to lead the Bison (0-1), who struggled to match the Lady Raiders’ defensive intensity and rebounding. Janiya Mitchell and Re'Anna Tull-Turner each followed with two points.
“We’re going to get better,” Central coach Shay Hayes said. “We have pieces, so we just have to put the puzzle together. We’re young, so it’s just going to take time to mold and mesh and get them together. In the locker room, I said, ‘Hey, we either win or we learn.’
“We didn’t win today, but we did learn. So, hopefully we’ll bring back what we learned today for the next game and keep going at it. I’ve got some fighters in there. And when that fight gets contagious and everyone wants to fight, then we’ll be OK.”
The Bison host crosstown rival Southwest Guilford on Tuesday before visiting Andrews on Friday. The Red Raiders will visit Thomasville before the rematch with Central on Friday in Foree Gymnasium.
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TW ANDREWS BOYS 67, HIGH POINT CENTRAL 44
TWA 14 13 19 21 – 67
HPC 5 14 9 16 – 44
Jalen Bennett 16, DJ Jackson 16, Keshawn Gunthrop 13, Little 9, Clinton 6, Miller 2, Pringle 2, Smith 1, Shearin 1, Umstead 1
HIGH POINT CENTRAL
Tre Hill 13, Price 8, Griffin 8, Cook 8, Innocent 5, Sellars 2
TW ANDREWS GIRLS 57, HIGH POINT CENTRAL 10
TWA 13 18 14 12 – 57
HPC 4 5 0 1 – 10
Zaria Scott 10, Townes 8, Jad. Butler 8, Flowers 7, Jah. Butler 6, Belton 5, Briggs 5, Bowman 4, Cureton 2, Johnson 2
HIGH POINT CENTRAL
Vaughn 5, Mitchell 2, Tull-Turner 2, Smith 1