By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS – After the first 16 minutes against the Central Warriors Dec. 22, some of the Brighton Cardinal faithful were thinking what a difference a few weeks makes.
Back in November the Warriors controlled tempo and dominated in all phases of the game to win on their home floor. The rematch took place in the Lausanne Gymnasium as part of the Lynx Holiday Tournament.
And Darryl Rogers’ Cardinals were in the thick of a potential thriller only trailing 26-23 at the break. But the Warriors behind standout senior Josh Jones outscored Brighton 18-10 in the third quarter leading to a 67-43 victory.
“In the first half, everybody had some enthusiasm,” Rogers noted. “It was something we worked on all week in practice. Lorenzo Hunt came out and displayed a good effort and a will to win. That’s something we all had in the first half.”
That determination was still be rewarded early in the third quarter when Hunt drained a triple that made the score 28-26 in favor of Central.
The Cardinals cut the deficit to two points once again when Jericho Williams hit a three-pointer of his own to make the score 31-29. Then Jones raced to the other end of the court to hit a jumper sparking a Central 13-2 run.
The only points for Brighton in that stretch came courtesy of a pair of Derrick Somerville foul shots. The Warriors built a 44-31 lead before Cardinal point guard Tyron Cooper was able to score on a layup to beat the third quarter buzzer.
“In the third quarter it was much different than the first time we played Central,” Rogers recalled. “In the first game, in the third quarter we came out with some fire, a punch. Today the youth showed. One thing you have to work on but you can’t teach is toughness.”
In the first contest the Cardinals rallied in the third quarter to force Jones and the Warriors to pull away in the final period.
In December’s game Central kept the Cardinals at bay with transition buckets. Through the midst of Warrior layups, Brighton’s Williams was displaying his dribble drive techniques.
Williams hit an aerobic shot over several defenders for his first basket in the final quarter. Moments later he went back on the attack stopping in the lane for a pull-up floater. But the scoreboard read 53-37 in favor of Central.
Williams and his teammate Terrell White scored the final four points for Brighton courtesy of free throws to make the final 67-47.
Rogers said featuring a roster with only two seniors means every game is a learning process. And he will take the last 16 minutes of the Central rematch to prepare his team for the upcoming meat of the District 13-3A schedule.
“The second half experience today, we have to learn how to come out and make the 8 minutes of that third quarter special,” he concluded. “We’re going to work on that all next week. Hopefully by the district tournament their maturity and experience will start to show.”