With a 60-44 win against Dreher in the Carolina Challenge, Hammond coach Mark McClam feels his Skyhawks have reached a higher level of success.
The win is the SCISA squad’s third in a row against public school teams, and cause for celebration.
“I’m excited about this win and I’m proud that we have been able to take our game to another level with a strong schedule,” McClam said.
“The thing you compliment them on is, they play hard,” Dreher coach Jeff DiBattisto said. “We had a game plan and I think for the most we part tried to execute it, but honestly I think they made more hustle plays than we did and that was the difference for us.”
Hammond grew a one-point halftime lead to 20 points midway through the second half with aggressive offense.
“Our conversation at halftime was, if you want it, go out and take it,” McClam said.
He said he felt his team got off to a strong start.
Sophomore point guard Seventh Woods led the Skyhawks, and the game, with 24 points. In the first half, Woods showed off his long-range shooting with a trio of 3-point buckets, and energized the standing-room only crowd with three rim-rattling dunks. He totaled 17 points in the half.
The Blue Devils were undaunted by Woods’ display, and battled back from 10 points down to take the lead for the first time, 20-19, with just under five minutes left in the half.
McClam said it had been the Skyhawks’ plan to limit Blue Devils’ leader Tevin Mack and stall the Dreher offense. Early on, the plan was partially successful.
With Grayson Stiglbauer banging around in the post for the Blue Devils, the Skyhawks were settling for jumpshots.
“There was a stretch of about four or five minutes where I don’t even think we scored. They were getting a lot of putbacks, and beating us at the boards,” McClam said.
While the Skyhawks held Mack to 9 points, Stiglbauer led the Blue Devils with 12 points and Deandre Nathaniel put up 11.
“We battled, I just think those 50-50 balls, where it could go either way, they got. And that’s the difference in the game, when they make plays,” DiBattisto said.
Dreher’s team effort featured tough defensive play from John Myers, who had a few key rebounds and the unenviable task of defending Xavier McDaniel. Myers posted eight points.
“He kind of does it all for us, but he did hustle, and I’m proud of him,” DiBattisto said.