Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear returned home after two games on the road, defeating Isaiah Christopher Academy, 130-95. Alonzo Tyson led with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Jacque Brown finished with 20 points, along with a new school record for assists in a game with 16.
Much of the first half was a game of runs. The Sea Devils shot poorly in the opening minutes, and the Grizzlies took advantage, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. Cape Fear responded by pressing full court, and managed to take the lead by forcing turnovers on two straight possessions. The Sea Devils briefly built a six point lead, but ICA came right back and tied it.
After briefly exchanging points, Cape Fear built an eight point lead. The Grizzlies hung around, but Cape Fear controlled the tempo. Offensively, they worked the ball inside, finding both Alonzo Tyson and DeVarte Watson for easy buckets. They continued pressing full court, which bothered ICA into a faster pace of play, and resulted in a number of rushed shots. Allowing just three offensive rebounds in the half, they gave the Grizzlies few second chance opportunities. On the other end, Cape Fear dominated the offensive glass, and totalled more offensive rebounds than defensive.
Cape Fear took its first double digit lead with just under seven minutes remaining, and extended it to 18 soon after. But much like the rest of the half, ICA responded with a run of their own, scoring 10 straight to make it 48-42 with two and a half minutes remaining. The Sea Devils briefly slowed the run, but a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining pulled the Grizzlies within three, ending the half with Cape Fear leading, 54-51.
The second half was all Cape Fear, however. Tyson started off strong, scoring six of his team's first nine points. This forced ICA to pack the paint, which opened up shots for Trevor Willis and Trae Bryant on the perimeter. Bryant and Brown were also able to attack the hoop successfully, and both drew And-1 layups.
Leading 69-61 with around 15 minutes remaining, Cape Fear went on a 12-2 run in just over a minute to take an 18 point lead. Unlike the first half, however, the Grizzlies did not respond with a run. Instead, the Sea Devils continued pulling away, leading by well over 20 points midway through the second half.
The rest of the half went fairly smoothly for the home team, and the only drama came from whether Brown would set the school record for assists or not.
They're second half dominance came after a shaky first half. This up and down play has been an issue at times this season, and coach Ryan Mantlo, while acknowledging that it's been a bit puzzling, believes a better mentality will help them put together two good halves.
"We've just got to get tougher mentally, and demand more out of each other. We talk about it every day, so it's time we acted upon it."
Along with that, they were dominant on the boards, out rebounding ICA 47-22 and finishing with more offensive rebounds (26) than defensive (21). Mantlo attributed the dominance on the offensive glass to their hard work.
"We talk about always wanting to play hard and to always go after everything aggressively." While Mantlo was pleased to see them crash the offensive boards, he pointed out that ICA did hit a lot of shots, giving the Sea Devils less opportunities to grab defensive rebounds, which slightly skewed the stat.
Brown's school record 16 assists breaks the previous record set in 2005. Mantlo has been impressed with his progress this season, and believes he has what it takes to be a great player.
"I really think he can be a special, special point guard, he just has to continue to grow. He does so many things so well, and the little things he can do at a high level he has to start doing [consistently] to make himself really special."
Cape Fear improves to 17-3 on the season. Their next game is scheduled for Saturday, February 4th, where they will face Spartanburg Methodist on the road. Tip off is schedule for 4:00 p.m.
Courtesy of Nick Denning