Defensive spark ignites Lawrence varsity boys

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, December 6, 2016

AHOSKIE – The Lawrence Academy varsity boy’s basketball team found itself down six points to Ridgecroft School in the championship game of the Lt. Nick Brantley Memorial Scholarship Tournament; and that’s when Warriors coach Jon Powell called timeout and said turn up the defense. His squad responded and their 11-0 outburst helped carry LAW to the title, 52-40.

Miller Trowell’s 14 points was the only double-figure scoring for the Warriors, and was one point less than Ridgecroft’s high scorer: Jasper Krueger with 15.

“We had to crank it up there in the second half,” Powell said after the game. “Maybe our sluggishness was from playing a Saturday game.  Whatever it was, I’m pleased with our resilience.”

One thing that wasn’t sluggish was how the Warriors kept the Rams within striking distance before their defense and transition game could kick in.

“The defense overall was good, not great,” added Powell with a sly grin. “Sometimes it’s not okay to play fast.”

Ridgecroft opened the game with a Ben Cooper corner jump shot and then played as if it was going to be an early blowout. The Rams flashed out to a 9-2 lead thanks to a pair of lay-ups by Krueger and a three-pointer by Blake Birdsong.  Lawrence’s only answer was a Miller Trowell lay-up.  Birdsong added another trey from behind the arc, but a Nixon Rascoe put-back and an Austin Wynn lay-up helped Lawrence make it a two-point game after the first quarter, 12-10, Rams.

Krueger’s lay-up and free throw helped push the Ridgecroft lead to 15-12 early in the second quarter.  Krueger got another jump shot and a Tucker Lane free throw had the Rams back up by six, 18-12.

But that’s when Powell’s time out and a ‘spirited discussion’ during it with his team led to the Lawrence resurgence.

Miller Trowell drained a pair of foul shots and DaQuan Wilson’s reverse lay-up before time expired had LAW once again within two at halftime, 18-16.

Wilson, who would go on to be named Tournament MVP, then tied the game early in the third quarter with another driving lay-up.  Lawrence sharpshooter Jarrett Harrell, who had been scoreless up until then, drained a three-pointer for a 21-18 score and a lead LAW never relinquished.

Ridgecroft’s scoring drought lasted until Krueger got a steal and lay-up that trimmed the Warrior bulge to 23-20.   Lawrence’s lead never fell below two points the rest of the quarter, but Ridgecroft stayed in it thanks to a pair of three’s from Grayson Joyner.  Rascoe had a three of his own and a baseline jumper for a 36-33 Warrior lead at the end of three.

Lawrence opened the fourth on a 6-0 run and the Warrior defense did the rest, holding the Rams to just six points for the quarter.  Miller Trowell added a jump shot and with four of six free throws made down the stretch, the Warriors (6-1) held off any comeback and took the championship by a dozen.

“We had the intensity in the first quarter, but couldn’t match theirs late,” said Rams coach Kris Khan. “Feeding off that momentum is how we kept it close.”

Wilson was MVP and joined on the All-Tournament team by LAW teammates Harrell and Miller Trowell along with Birdsong and Krueger of Ridgecroft and Pungo’s Jonathan Langley.



Miller Trowell-14, Wood Trowell-9, Austin Wynn-8, Jarrett Harrell-8, Nixon Rascoe-7, DaQuan Wilson-7.



Jasper Krueger-15, Blake Birdsong-6, Grayson Joyner-6, Ben Cooper-5, Tucker Lane-3, Wyatt Liverman-3, Drew Davis-2.