Deerfield’s Jay Barber scoops in a layup for two of his 10 points in Saturday’s win against Southwest Georgia Academy. Barber also had three steals in the Knights’ 78-35 victory. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — The Deerfield-Windsor Knights improved their record to 6-3 after crushing the Southwest Georgia Academy Warriors, 78-35, Saturday night at the W.T. Henry Gymnasium.
Deerfield’s intense press defense and constant ball pressure helped keep the Knights in control and the Warriors on their heels the entire night as Deerfield rolled to the easy win.
“It was the first easy game we’ve had,” DWS coach Gordy Gruhl said. “We got up early and got out to a nice lead. We had it pretty much wrapped up by halftime.”
Both teams traded buckets early, with SGA standout McKinley Chambless scoring the Warriors’ first eight points to match Deerfield’s early output, but from that point on it was all Deerfield as the Knights closed the first period on a 13-3 run to end the quarter ahead, 21-11.
The Knights stayed hot in the second quarter and quickly ran out to a 22-point lead after a 12-0 run that was started by a Chap Ivey steal and bucket.
Deerfield continued to apply constant pressure on the defensive front, preventing SGA from getting any ball movement or penetration, which resulted in the Warriors scoring just seven points in the period.
Having firmly established their dominance, the Knights ended the first half with a 23-point lead.
The third period saw more of the same as Deerfield continued to apply pressure, starting with a blocked shot by Justin Eady, followed by a quick steal and a lay up from Ivey.
After starting the third quarter with an 8-2 run, Deerfield eased some of its press defense but still remained firmly in control, ending the quarter with a 29-point lead.
SGA looked clearly outmatched by the start of the fourth quarter, and it showed as the Knights again began the period with intense defensive pressure led by Ivey nabbing three steals and a score in the first two minutes.
Deerfield rode the momentum throughout the fourth and finished the game strong with a 43-point victory.
“I thought the kids played really well (Saturday night),” said Gruhl. “We had really good balance, too. We shot the ball good from the outside, and we played well inside.”
In addition to the balance on the court, the Knights also showed great balance as a team with eight players putting points on the board.
Ivey led all scorers with 17 points, with Ryan Toole adding 14. Jay Barber also had a strong night with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Dee Barber also knocked down two 3-pointers as part of his 10-point night. Not to be outdone, Chandler Matthews also hit two late treys as part of his eight points.
Austin Fallaw chipped in an additional seven points, Eady put up six and Christian Wallace capped the scoring with four points.
Despite scoring nearly 80 points, it was fundamental basketball that propelled the Knights to such a dominant win, as they managed 25 steals and won the rebound battle, 34-12.
Ivey was again the standout in the steals department with five swipes, which was matched by Matthews, who had five of his own. Dee Barber and Toole also chipped in with three steals each.
Fallaw proved difficult to keep off the glass as he recorded a game-high nine rebounds, followed by Wallace’s seven. Eady had five boards of his own, while Toole and Jay Barber each had four.
The Knights won’t have long to enjoy the easy win though as they now have to gear up to host rival Stratford Academy on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got Stratford Tuesday night at home, and they’ve got a good team,” Gruhl said. “They beat us earlier this year, so hopefully we can return the favor.”
LADY KNIGHTS WIN, TOO: The Deerfield Lady Knights also notched a victory Saturday night with a solid 42-28 win over the Lady Warriors.
Both teams struggled early with turnovers as well as missing open jump shots, making for a tight contest early. Both teams fought hard despite the miscues, and Deerfield ended the half with a slim lead at 16-15.
The third quarter saw more of the same as both teams fought hard to score buckets, as Deerfield only increased its lead a few points, ending the period up 26-23.
The fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker as the Lady Knight press defense forced SGA into some sloppy decisions which lead to Deerfield points.
The Lady Knight also showed strength in the middle, taking over the paint en route to a 14-point victory.
Jordan Lane led the way for the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Kelsey King added nine. Nyla Perry also had a solid game, scoring eight points.
In addition to leading all scorers in the game, Lane also had a solid night defensively with six steals and two blocked shots. King and Burt led the battle of the boards with 10 and eight, respectively.