PDT Sports Contributor
LUCASVILLE — If utilized correctly, a team’s play in the low post can be vital to any hopes of a deep tournament run.
No. 6 East took that first step toward possibly making a deep tournament run as Tyler Gerald, Nick Basham and Shauntavian Martin combined to score 38 of the Tartans’ 69 points on the evening en route to a 69-45 victory over No. 11 Whiteoak Wednesday evening in a Division IV Southeast Sectional Semifinal at Valley High School.
While the post play for East was absolutely brilliant on the block, the points scored by the post players down low paled in comparison to the rebounding stats that helped put the Tartans up on the night.
Overall, they grabbed 45 rebounds while holding the Wildcats to just 18 as a team in the contest. This included a 17-3 edge on the glass in the first quarter and five-straight offensive rebounds on the first possession of the contest.
East coach Adam Bailey said the Tartans did exactly what they had to do to win the game, which was utilizing the size advantage that Basham, Gerald and Martin had on the Whiteoak front line.
“I thought we took advantage of our size,” Bailey said. “We talked about it in practice and before the game and I thought the kids did a really good job of getting the ball to the post. I thought that Nick Basham, Tyler Gerald and Shauntavian Martin did an excellent job of crashing the offensive glass and we kind of exploited their weakness there.”
East also used its on-the-ball pressure defensively to bother the Wildcat shooters, which led to a 12-0 first quarter advantage before Jason Jones scored the first bucket for Whiteoak with 5:05 remaining in the first quarter of play.
The Tartans continued the ball pressure into the second quarter of play as a 12-2 run during the quarter helped propel East to a 37-16 halftime advantage.
“I think that tonight, we didn’t create a lot of turnovers but we just put enough pressure on them to get them out of sync of what they wanted to do,” Bailey said. “They couldn’t get a lot against us inside so we were allowed to extend outward and pressure them. I thought that the defensive pressure, especially in the first quarter, was really good.”
East continued to ride the low post in the third quarter as Basham, Gerald and Martin scored 15 of their 39 combined points in the quarter and stretched the lead to a 57-32 advantage at the end of the third stanza and seal the victory.
With the win, the Tartans move onto sectional final play as the they will take on SOC I rival Notre Dame Feb. 26.
Both teams were able to take a victory from the other’s home floor this season, with the East taking a one-point victory Jan. 4 and the Titans winning by a 63-52 tally in the rematch that took place 10 days later.
Ironically, this will be the second-straight year the two SOC I foes will meet in the postseason. Notre Dame moved on to regional play by defeating East for a Division IV Southeast District title last year in Athens.
Bailey said that the team who comes out and controls the tempo of the game will ultimately win the contest.
“I think it’ll be a good game,” Bailey said. “Both games earlier in the year were good games. You have two teams that play hard but contrast in styles of play. The style of play will dictate a lot of the game.”
Whiteoak 9 7 16 13 – 45
East 22 15 20 12 – 69
Whiteoak – Wardlow 0-2-2, Emery 3-0-7, Ashbaugh 3-5-11, Jones 6-2-15, Williams 3-1-7, McClure 0-3-3, Totals 15-13-45.
East – Martin 3-0-6, Stiltner 4-1-10, Lowe 1-0-3, Sibert 1-0-2, Aills 0-1-1, Brown 3-2-9, Bolda 2-0-4, Gerald 11-4-26, Basham 3-0-6, Totals 28-8-69.
3-Point Goals – Whiteoak 2 (Emery, Jones); East 3 (Stiltner, Lowe, Brown).
Records – Whiteoak 1-19, East 11-9.