Against Florida’s Deerfield Beach, Lower Richland dropped to 1-1 in the Chick-fil-A Classic tournament, falling 52-45.
The Diamond Hornets, hindered by 22 turnovers, fell behind early.
Coach Willie Thomas was disappointed the Diamond Hornets were lacking mental and physical tenacity from the start.
“They physically took the game from us in the beginning,” Thomas said. He added, “I don’t think it was as much them as it was us.”
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The Diamond Hornets trailed by as many as 21 points as the Bucks (15-1) were aided by 25 points off Lower Richland turnovers.
But Lower Richland made a late surge after they switched to a smaller lineup, a point the Thomas found encouraging.
Led by guard Spencer Taylor, the Diamond Hornets went from 19 points down to 8 points back with 45 seconds to go.
Then Taylor’s backcourt strip and layup knocked the Diamond Hornets’ deficit to six points with 37 seconds left.
Taylor went to the line on an intentional foul that added two more points to the Lower Richland effort, making it a two-possession game with 34.7 seconds to go.
“We got some positives tonight,” Thomas said of the Diamond Hornets’ second half-efforts, which included 21 points off the bench.
Early on, Deerfield Beach’s man-to-man defense hindered Lower Richland’s offensive game, as the Diamond Hornets were a dismal 14 percent from the field in the first four minutes.
With Diamond Hornets bruisers Alonzo Gibson and Cedric Davis down low, Deerfield Beach countered their strong post presence by crowding the lane to force turnovers.
With just over seven minutes in the half, Brandon Stroman dished to guard Spencer Taylor, who moved inside for a layup that put the Diamond Hornets one point back.
Then Lewayne Grant hit the Bucks’ third 3-point bucket of the night to help the Bucks establish a 25-14 lead going into halftime.
Stroman and guard Spencer Taylor each had six points in the first half. Taylor finished leading the game with 15 points. Stroman notched 14, including two 3-point buckets.
L: Spencer Taylor 15, Brandon Stroman 14, Davis 2, Tillman 2, Hampton 3, Edmond 3, Hicklin 6. D: Javaris Jenkins 14, Terence Johnson 11, Owens 9, Kelly 2, Carpenter 7, Grant 3, Williams 4, Huntley 2.