ALBANY -- Turns out it wasn't the worst idea for Terrell Academy not to open the season against Deerfield-Windsor. The Eagles might not have had that history-making 10-0 start.
They finally made the game up Thursday at DWS.
Terrell Academy hung around and gave DWS fits for three quarters, but in the end the bigger, deeper and faster Knights ran away with a 68-49 victory.
"Coach asked us at halftime what we wanted to do,'' said DWS' Shaun Jones, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. "He said, 'do you want to lose this game, or do you want to get tough?' We got tough.''
Add a little larceny to that toughness and you get an idea what happened in the second half when DWS stole everything but the scorebook from Terrell Academy and outscored the Eagles, 39-19.
DWS forced 21 second-half turnovers, including a dozen steals, and suddenly the same Knights who couldn't shoot straight started dropping in easy lay-ins and inside shots. Twenty of DWS' 24 fourth-quarter points came in the paint, including 16 that came directly off turnovers.
"We certainly turned the heat up in the fourth quarter,'' DWS coach Gordy Gruhl said. "We started making them play faster than they wanted to play. When you get your defense going, a lot of times it helps your offense get going, too.''
Most of DWS' offense didn't show up until the fourth quarter. The Knights missed eight of their first nine shots to open the game, and went 4 for 18 in the first quarter and just 6 of 17 in the second quarter. Finally the shots started to fall, but DWS didn't get its first lead of the game until Jordan Alexander hit a shot inside with 20 seconds left in the third quarter to lift DWS to a 41-40 lead. Jones busted a 3 with two seconds left and suddenly the Knights, who had trailed 40-35, were up 44-40.
"I don't know what we were at halftime, something like 4 for 32 or something like that from the field,'' Gruhl said. "I don't know how many shots we missed from right around the basket that went spinning out,'' he said twirling his fingers to make the point.
But late in the game, almost everything dropped in for DWS.
"I knew we couldn't shoot any worse,'' Gruhl said.
DWS (16-1) opened the fourth quarter with three steals and three drives in the first 30 seconds to complete a 15-0 run and take a 50-40 lead, and that seemed to ignite the Knights' defense even more. From that point on it was all Deerfield.
"Their press got to us at the end,'' Terrell Academy coach Rundy Foster said. "We just didn't have an answer for it. And they have so many offensive weapons.''
Four of those weapons scored in double figures. Michael Matthews and Banks Kinslow scored 12 each for the Knights, and Reggie Brown led everyone with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
"I think once we got into our transition game that changed everything,'' said Brown, who also blocked a couple of shots. "And we started playing better on offense, making more than one pass.''
The loss leaves Terrell Academy at 12-2, but the Eagles will always have that record-breaking start -- a school record that started only four days after the Eagles won the GISA Class A football title. Because of the late start in basketball, they postponed the DWS opener until Thursday because DWS had just played in the GISA Class AAA state football title game.
Now Terrell, which was led by Jonathan Farr and Riley Davis who scored 15 points each, just needs to rip off another long streak against Class A after stepping up against DWS' AAA team.
"They (DWS) are cream of the crop in GISA,'' Foster said. "They're bigger and deeper than us, but I'm sure proud of the way my kids played."