The fundamentals of the game were what Sand Rock worked on at practice this week, and it’s paid off in a pair of wins at Ider on Monday and at home against Class 3A Glencoe on Thursday night.
Behind 19 points apiece from Dylan Mackey and Dakota Mabry, the Wildcats managed to hold on for a 59-51 victory against the Yellowjackets.
“We did a much better job of staying in front of our guy and boxing out,” Coach Mackey said. “We’re playing a little bit better now, and we need to playing a little bit better going down the stretch.”
Sand Rock (10-12) led most of the way. The Wildcats jumped out to a 23-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Glencoe (14-9) managed to slow the pace down and creep within four at 27-23 at halftime.
The two teams were tied at 36 at the end of the third quarter, then Glencoe briefly took a 38-36 lead on a jumper by Austin Hancock with 7:46 to go in the fourth. The Yellowjackets battled Sand Rock down the stretch, but the Wildcats sank 11 of 14 free throws in the final four minutes to help secure the win.
Mabry was 6 of 8 from the charity stripe in the fourth.
“It wasn’t easy tonight,” Coach Mackey said. “Glencoe is a strong defensive team. A lot of people don’t know how good they play man-to-man. I was worried about playing them man-to-man. I wanted to play more of a match and switch. I tried that and it wasn’t working. We started out good in man, but then they started killing us. I switched to a match, then they started getting to that. I had to go back to man and told our guys they had to suck it up and go. They played hard. It was a good win for us.”
Hancock’s 15 points led the Yellowjackets. Scott Bradley netted 13 points and Anthony Morris tossed in eight.
Joel Brock added seven points for the Wildcats. Chase Garrett and Devon Howard both finished with six points.
“We’re cutting down on the bad shots, and that’s helping us,” Coach Mackey said. “We were a little bit more patient tonight on offense, but we’ve still got a way to go.”
Sand Rock hosts Sylvania for senior night on Friday.
Glencoe girls 45, Sand Rock girls 30
SAND ROCK – Emily Langley netted a game-high 12 points, all in the second half, but her effort wasn’t enough to lead Class 2A, No. 9 Sand Rock past Class 3A, No. 10 Glencoe on Thursday. The Lady Wildcats fell by the final of 45-30.
Glencoe (17-7) led throughout the game. The Lady Yellowjackets jumped out to a 14-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter and held a 26-8 lead at halftime. Glencoe distanced itself even further from Sand Rock (16-6) in the third quarter, holding a 40-17 advantage.
“We were not mentally prepared tonight,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. “We made a lot of ball-handling errors and just got out-hustled and out-muscled on the inside. That’s what forced us to turn the ball over some, even when we did get a rebound. We were not at our best tonight. Hopefully we’ll pick it up and forget about that and play harder (Friday against Sylvania).”
Sand Rock managed to cut Glencoe’s lead down to 12 at 40-28 with 3:29 left in the fourth quarter by going on an 11-0 run, but Bates said the effort came too little, too late.
“If we could have come out like that in the first quarter or the second quarter, it would have been a closer game,” Bates said. “We missed a lot of easy shots tonight. If we would have just hit those and some free throws, even as badly as we played, we still would have been in it. Things were just not going our way tonight.”
Laura Poovey and Hope Gaskin both scored 11 points to lead Glencoe. Poovey also had five assists. Maddie Osborne added eight points. Jordan Sims contributed four points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Amber Ashley and Courtney Rowe both had six points for Sand Rock. Ashley also added five rebounds and three steals. Rowe had four steals. Madison McCullough managed four points, eight boards and three steals. Madison Smith finished with a bucket, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.