Edna's Derud Jones goes for a layup during Friday's game against Van Vleck. The Leopards won 69-37 to move to 18-5 overall; Edna fell to 1-14.
Photo by Amanda Steen.
Originally published on Saturday, January 14, 2012
EDNA - Van Vleck led by double digits almost immediately, but nobody would have known it by watching.
While some teams might have a tendency to slack off once a comfortable lead is constructed, the Leopards pride themselves on treating every possession the same, using a relentless defense to trigger their fast-breaking offense.
In the District 26-2A opener at Edna, their philosophy worked to near perfection as the Leopards easily earned a 69-37 victory.
Van Vleck scored 19 unanswered points to build a 21-2 first-quarter lead and never looked back, allowing the Cowboys to score consecutive points just four times all evening.
The Leopards' advantage ballooned to 37 points in the third quarter, but No. 18 Van Vleck's approach never waivered.
"I feel like if you are up by 20 or down by 10, you still have to play basketball the right way and be fundamentally sound," Van Vleck head coach Joseph Davis said. "We preach to just get up in you and play good defense. That's our goal every night."
At no point was that better exemplified than in the third quarter, when Van Vleck limited the Cowboys to just two points the entire period. And Edna just barely got those.
Darius Callies connected on a jumper with 30 seconds left to give Edna its only field goal in the quarter, snapping Van Vleck's 18-0 run and making the score 57-22 in the process.
While the game was already out of reach, the Cowboys used the basket as a jumping-off point to produce their best showing of the game, outscoring the Leopards 15-12 in the fourth quarter.
"(My players) keep fighting," Edna head coach Bill Williams said. "They've only won one game this year, but they keep fighting."
Edna was in a battle from the opening tip, especially in the paint, attempting to keep pace with a much larger and more athletic team.
The Leopards (18-5, 1-0 District 26-2A) were led by a pair of post players who combined to score 29 points and grab 21 rebounds.
Kalvin Singletary finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 17 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds despite playing off the bench. Anthony Young, 7-foot center, pulled down nine rebounds and scored 12 points, including a pair of dunks.
Offensively, Edna (1-14, 0-1) was led by DeRod Jones and Calies, who each finished with eight points.
But the Leopards simply had too much size for Edna to contend with as they outrebounded the Cowboys 41-19.
"In football, speed kills, and in basketball, when you're playing against 7-foot and 6-foot-8 kids, height kills," Williams said.
As for Van Vleck, a team with seven players returning on its eight-man roster, Davis believes if his team continues dedicating itself to defense then this could be a prosperous year for the Leopards.
"We want to use every game as a stepping stone and, hopefully, by the end of the season, we will be at the top," the coach said.