Ocracoke stops Bethel

Published 1:36 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

ASKEWVILLE – Playing their first game since finishing runner-up in the Lt. Nick Brantley Scholarship Tournament a week ago, the Dolphins of Ocracoke School humbled host Bethel Assembly Christian Academy 82-36 on Friday.

The two teams were playing in the first round of the Eric Baggett Memorial Tournament; named for the late Eagles’ two-sport star who died in 2010 and held at Bethel over the weekend.

Zack Bazemore was the lone Eagle scoring in double figures as all five Ocracoke starters topped or equaled the 10-point scoring mark led by Andrew Tillett with 19.

Still, it was a close game in the early going before Ocracoke’s inside presence led to them pulling away for their fourth win of the season.

“They’re obviously a mature ball team that’s been playing together for a while,” said Eagles coach Roy “Buddy” Denton. “I thought we played a good first quarter and take away a few of those turnovers and we might’ve beaten them for a quarter.

“They had a big guy inside, but I did see some positive things,” he added.

Much of that came in the early going.  Ocracoke broke a 2-2 tie with an unanswered eight-point run; much of that coming thanks to their full court pressure defense.

After Denton called a quick time-out to settle his team, Bethel regained their composure. The Eagles outscored the Dolphins, 9-4, and pulled within three at 14-11, after Trent Davidson sank a pair of free throws.

Trey Hoggard then muscled his way down low to get a put-back layup and the Eagles were within one at 14-13.

On Bethel’s next possession, Tillett picked up his second foul, sending Bazemore to the line for a one-plus-one and with a chance to give the host team the lead.

However, he missed the front end of it, Ocracoke rebounded the miss and sprinted down court for a layup. The ‘Fins added another layup on a three-point play and took a five-point lead after eight minutes of play, 18-13.

The second quarter opened with Ocracoke ramping things up quite a bit. Their press seemed to totally rattle Bethel; and when they weren’t harassing the Eagles in the back-court, they were feeding Tillett and his front-court mates in the low-post for easy layups.

Their effort soon turned the game into a rout.  The Dolphin scored 19 in a row to open the second quarter, making for 23 unanswered points before Blaine Williams ended the run by making a pair of Bethel foul shots.

At that point the Eagles trailed 37-15. Ocracoke ended the half scoring four of the last six points to take a very comfortable 25-point lead, 42-17, into the locker room at the break.

The Dolphins opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run, upping their mark to 53-22 before Bethel began to turn things around.

The Eagles played the Outer Banks visitors evenly the rest of the third quarter, each team scoring ten points; eight of those came from the hand of Bazemore, who was scoring off screens.

Still, Bethel was staring at a 33-point hole, 63-30, as the final quarter began.

Ocracoke played that final eight minutes like they’d played the first 16, limiting Bethel’s second-chance points while shooting 60 percent for the game. Eight of the Dolphins’ final 19 points came on the fast-break.

Matt Neil’s pair of three-pointers kept Bethel from being shutout.

“After that four-hour trip we got a little flat coming out to play,” said Dolphins coach David Allewalt. “But they got into the game as it wore on; and we shot really well from the outside.”