In a battle of the last two Kaysinger Conference boys basketball champions, the Sacred Heart Gremlins forced 24 turnovers and beat Cole Camp 86-47 on Tuesday.
The Gremlins used a full court press to force many of those turnovers in the first few minutes of the game as Sacred Heart took a 13-3 lead.
“We were really listening to what coach was saying and jumping in the passing lanes,” said Gremlins guard Chase Lyles. “We played some good defense.”
When Cole Camp was able to set up in a half-court offense, they worked the ball into senior center Tanner Oelrichs, who led the Bluebirds with 23 points in the game and at one point in the first half scored 10 Cole Camp points in a row. But often the Gremlins defense was able to take the ball away for the the Bluebirds could work it into Oelrichs in the low post.
“They did a fine job of picking him up,” said Cole Camp coach Tom Ward. “I knew they just pressure so hard and we’re not experienced enough. This is a new group of kids and it’s still a learning experience for us.”
Stefan Cox scored 13 in the first half before adding 13 more in the third quarter to lead Sacred Heart with 26. He hit a 3-pointer to spark the Gremlins’ first quarter run and scored eight of the Gremlins’ first 20 points.
In the third quarter he scored a layup off a Keyaire Marshall steal to make it 50-28, then hit three 3-pointers in the span of four possessions.
“When he’s hitting like that, he’s drawing two, three guys to him,” Lyles said. “That opens the court for the rest of us and helps us get open shots.”
Lyles added 16, many of them coming in transition in the first half. He also had a pair of steals on Cole Camp’s final two possessions of the first quarter which led to layups for Marshall and Clint Spangler.
“They’re big and strong and we kind of wanted to run the floor a little bit and I think we did a pretty good job of that,” said Sacred Heart coach Steve Goodwin.
Lyles finished the first half scoring with a jumper and a 3-pointer. Jimmy Villalobos came off the bench to score 12, 10 of those in the fourth quarter. Marshall added 15.
“They’ve got five kids that can flat our score all the time,” Ward said. “We were going to try to take a couple of guys away and have other guys beat us, but if you leave something somewhere, they’re going to score someplace else.”
Cole Camp won the junior varsity game 52-25.
Cole Camp (4-9, 1-2 Kaysinger) will visit Northwest at 8 p.m. Friday.
Sacred Heart (9-0, 2-0 Kaysinger) will host Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. Friday.