Published: 12:33 AM, Wed Jan 18, 2012
Seventy-First boys beat Jack Britt 69-58
The rivalry between Jack Britt and Seventy-First, cultivated over the last decade since Britt's inception in 2001, is a competition that Falcons guard Sidney Knox describes as friendly. Sort of.
"Off the court, on the outside, we're cool, and we get along," the junior said. "But when we play against each other, we don't really like each other."
The Falcons, led by a team-high 12 points from Knox, won the latest contest in the series Tuesday at Britt, topping the Buccaneers 69-58 for Seventy-First's third straight win in conference play.
The Falcons (12-5, 5-1) remain in second place in the Mid-South 4-A Conference, with the team's lone league loss to top team Pine Forest.
The game started with intensity from both sides, as Falcons' coach David Simmons expected.
"These kids play against each other all the time on the weekends and during the offseason," Simmons said. "They see each other so much that it creates an intensity when they take the court."
Jack Britt (5-13, 2-4) took an early edge, utilizing a full-court press that resulted in a string of transition baskets that quickly put the Bucs ahead 10-4 after a minute and a half of play.
The Falcons adapted to the Bucs' press, using a patient passing approach to move the ball across half-court before pushing it inside to forwards Devante Thomas and Chris Bennett. Thomas and Bennett each finished with 10 points.
Seventy-First took the lead on a fast break run by Marcus Williams, who banked the ball off the backboard into the waiting hands of a leaping Bennett. The senior's dunk gave the Falcons a 11-10 lead with 4:30 left to play in the first half, en route to a 39-31 Falcon advantage at halftime.
The second half amounted to a show of one-up plays by Seventy-First. If the Bucs worked the ball inside for a layup, the Falcons answered with a 3-pointer. When Britt made 1 of 2 from the foul line, Seventy-First capitalized on a three-point play.
And when Britt fouled to stop the clock, it was most often to send Marcus Williams to the line. Williams, an 82-percent free throw shooter, made 6 of 7 in the fourth quarter, part of an 11-point night for the guard.
The Bucs have lost four of their five conference games since returning to play after the Holiday Classic tournament in December.
Britt coach Ike Walker Jr. said his team fell victim to its own errors - ones he's seen his players make throughout the year.
"We made some minor errors that have plagued us all season," the coach said. "Missed passes, late rotations. And against Seventy-First, you give them opportunities, and they're good."
The Falcons slowly edged away through the second half on their way to victory, despite a game-high 15 points by Bucs' forward Daniel Camps.
Camps leads the team in scoring, averaging 20 points per game. He also leads in rebounds, assists and 3-pointers, leaving Walker looking for additional support from his team.
"We have returners, guys who have been in this program," Walker said. "Kids have bought in, and we're playing with more effort and intensity, but it's inconsistent. It's about focus with this group."