Deerfield’s Sam Shellhaas, right, drives past Sherwood’s Patrick Stanford during the first half of Tuesday’s game between cross-town rivals. The Knights, as they’ve done in recent years in this series, dominated once again, running away with a 48-31 victory. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — Mike Sons doesn’t know how many wins Gordy Gruhl has, but he knows his cross-town Region 3-AAA counterpart has a lot.
Sons and Sherwood Christian found out why Tuesday in a 48-31 loss to Deerfield-Windsor that saw the early-season region leaders go head-to-head.
“What’s he got, 15,000 wins?” Sons, the Eagles’ second-year coach, said sarcastically after falling in his first matchup against Gruhl. “You’re always in a dogfight when you play his teams.”
Deerfield was without leading scorer Ramello Carter, who was held out for undisclosed reasons, and his absence was noticeable in the first half after the Knights struggled offensively in the first 24 minutes. Sherwood, though, was even colder from the floor and trailed 16-10 at the break.
“It was ugly,” said Gruhl, who would only say that Carter will return to the court Friday against Southland.
Gruhl then added: “We struggled offensively but I thought we played about as good on defense in both halves as we could play. Sometimes when you struggle offensively, you’ve got to find a way to win with your defense.”
Sherwood cut the DWS lead to 20-19 on Rashard Davis’ layup with 5:30 left in the third quarter, but the Knights found their rhythm after that, using a 13-0 run to blow the game wide open. Sam Shellhaas scored six during the blistering spurt, while Pete Langstaff added five.
“We had to deal without Ramello,” said Shellhaas, who scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds. “We knew we could beat this team going in. We came out in the second half fired up.”
The Eagles (8-4, 2-1 in GISA Region 3-AAA) got as close as seven points in the fourth quarter after Davis glided in for an uncontested layup to cut the score to 35-28 with 5:49 to play.
But Shellhaas and guard Jay Barber (10 points) put the game away down the stretch with big baskets, despite a woeful night as a team from the free throw line (7-for-23).
“I didn’t know how we’d play under the circumstances, but I was kind of anxious to see,” said Gruhl, whose team is a perfect 3-0 in region and improved to 11-3 overall. “The kids responded.”
Sherwood got 13 points and five steals from Davis and nine points and seven boards from Patrick Stanford. Sherwood next faces Tiftarea on the road Friday and hopes to rebound from the loss, although Sons enjoyed the atmosphere of a packed house that comes with playing Deerfield.
“I liked it because it was a playoff environment and we’re going to need that,” he said.
DEERFIELD GIRLS 52, SHERWOOD 15: The Lady Knights led just 24-13 at halftime, but a menacing defense held Sherwood to two points in the final two periods and sent Deerfield to a commanding Region 3-AAA lead.
Senior Courtney Kelson led DWS (13-3, 3-0 GISA Region 3-AAA) with 16 points and 8th grader Nyla Perry added 13 (three 3-pointers). Senior Sabrina Curry chipped in eight in the win, which saw the Lady Knights score 23 points in the third quarter alone.
Sherwood (3-12, 0-3 GISA Region 3-AAA) was paced by Madison Walker’s nine points, including two 3s. Katelyn Gilliam added four in the loss.
DWS now plays host to another rival, Southland, on Friday, while Sherwood travels to Tiftarea.