Deerfield's Jordan Lane dominated the paint Tuesday in a win against Sherwood with 15 rebounds and four points.
ALBANY -- Rusty?
Don’t even think about it. Not at Deerfield-Windsor, not here where they know all about going from football season into basketball season on the run.
For the fourth time in the past five years, the Deerfield kids have had to walk out of a state championship game on Friday and start basketball season the following Tuesday.
DWS won three of those state five title games, including Friday’s 27-19 win against Heritage to win the fourth state crown in the school’s history, and then hit the court running Tuesday with a 78-47 win against city rival Sherwood Christian.
“We’ve done it so much I have learned not to worry about it,” said DWS boys basketball coach Gordy Gruhl, whose team plays its home games on the newly renamed "Gruhl Court" at DWS, where a nice crowd showed up for the boys season opener. “I’ve had lots of practice doing it.”
The football players admitted they needed to get into basketball shape after working out just two days on the court.
“I gave them Saturday off,’’ joked Gruhl about his football players who joined the team Sunday afternoon for their first practice, while the rest of the team had been practicing for more than a month. “They were anxious for the season to start. They were practicing since the middle of October. They were about to die to go out there and beat up on somebody.”
They looked like it.
Deerfield jumped out to an 18-2 lead and just kept running.
“We pressed them and got a lot of steals in the first quarter, and we did what we had to do,” said senior guard Ramello Carter, who help ignite DWS’ first-quarter fastbreak and finished with 15 points to lead the Knights. “We didn't expect to jell so early, but we did.’’
Even Gruhl, who didn't graduated anyone from last year's 20-5 team, was surprised.
“We got on them pretty quick,’’ he said. “I thought we were pretty patient with our offense and took good shots and played pretty good defense. We never let them get in the game.’’
Sherwood, which had won four of its first five games, was down 26-7 after the first quarter and 48-25 at halftime.
“We were like a deer in headlights,’’ said new SCA coach Karmarlos Jackson, who knew all about the city rivalry between Deerfield-Windsor and Sherwood. “It’s the whole mystique of playing Deerfield. It got to us. We weren‘t ready for that kind of pressure.’’
Then he added what he thought about the rivalry.
“It’s not a rivalry,” he began, "until we win.’’
Sherwood was led by Larrece Kelley (11 points), Dalton Todd (10), and T.J. Clay (9). The Eagles are off Friday but play Southland at home next Tuesday, while DWS next travels to Stratford on Friday.
Deerfield was just glad to get on the court.
“Everybody was ready to play,’’ Carter said.
That was more than evident when DWS forced nine turnovers in the first quarter and jumped out to an 9-0 lead, and then -- after Todd hit a shot -- the Knights ripped off an 11 point run that included four fast break baskets to take a 18-2 lead. The Knights never slowed down until a mercy-rule six-minute fourth quarter was invoked.
Carter led the way, but Gruhl played 12 kids and four ended up in double figures: Jay Barber (12 points), Jason Battle (11), Justin Eady (11), and Dee Barber scored eight points off the bench. All of those players are basketball-only kids who couldn't wait for the season to start.
"They were ready,'' Gruhl said.
LANE PACES DWS GIRLS:
ALBANY — Jordan Lane grabbed 15 rebounds to dominate inside, and Deerfield-Windsor’s young girls basketball team held off city rival Sherwood Christian Academy, 42-31, on Tuesday night at the recently renamed “Gruhl Court” — after head boys coach and former girls coach Gordy Gruhl, who won his 1,000th career game last season — at DWS, where the Lady Knights improved to 2-1 with the win.
SCA (4-3) led, 10-8, at the end of the first quarter thanks to Madison Walker, who scored eight of SCA’s first 10 points, but Deerfield held the Lady Eagles scoreless for more than 10 minutes and built a 19-12 halftime lead.
SCA made a run and knotted the score at 19-19 on a Walker 3-pointer with 5:57 left in the third, but Deerfield took over in the second half.
The Lady Knights built a 19-point lead, 40-21, late in the fourth quarter.
DWS was led by Casey Kincheloe (11 points), Nyla Perry (9 points) and Joyner Tyson (8 points). Lane scored just four points, but she was a presence all night, grabbing 10 first-half rebounds. She also had a steal and blocked a shot.
Both schools have new girls basketball coaches and new looks. Deerfield’s Jeff Eubanks doesn’t have any starters back from last year’s team, which advanced to the Elite 8 round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs and started only one senior, Kincheloe, who is one of the top girls soccer players in GISA and hadn‘t played basketball before this season.
Lakesha Elder takes over at Sherwood, where her girls have a new look and a chance to make a run at the AA region title. SCA won only two games last year, and Elder’s kids have already won four games. Walker led the Lady Eagles with 16 points, hitting of 4 of 6 shots from the arc.