Cowboys repeat as Sheetz tourney champs
A strong start to the second half helped lift the Southwest Guilford boys past rival High Point Central 92-77 for their second straight Sheetz Holiday Christmas Classic championship on Saturday at Southwest.
The Cowboys (8-3), leading by one at halftime, opened the second half with an 11-2 run – scoring on their first nine possessions – and outscored the Bison (7-3) in the quarter 31-13 to build a double-digit lead they didn’t relinquish.
“I thought in that third quarter we kind of took control,” Southwest coach Guy Shavers said. “We got into a nice little flow. We went to a motion offense to try to keep them from being able to just attack. So, I was pleased with how we played – it was probably one of the most complete games we’ve played all year.
“I think we grew – I’ve been struggling to find a rotation with this group,” he said of the complete tournament. “Having so many role players coming back and having to change roles and figuring out how to replace 30 points and 9 rebounds (in former standout Terrell Leach) is a chore. … It’s taken me a while, but I thought we really grew up this tournament.”
For the third straight tournament game, freshman Kameron Langley scored in double-figures – this time netting 16 points – to earn the tournament’s MVP award. Ben Ferguson scored a game-high 24 points, hitting six 3-pointers, while Arjun Patel followed with 15 points.
“I feel great,” said Langley, who averaged 15 points over the tournament’s three games, of winning MVP. “I wasn’t expecting to win this because I’m a freshman. And it feels great to win this tournament championship – my teammates helped to pull it out.”
Central played well throughout the back-and-forth first half and went into halftime within striking distance, thanks to a last-second 3 by Germaine Pratt. But it was a much different performance in the second half, faltering with turnovers and misses in the third quarter.
The Bison, led by Juwan Foggie with 22 points, Pratt with 14 and Trevor Gay with 13, did cut into the deficit in the fourth, trimming the Cowboys’ 24-point lead to 11 with 2:32 left, but Southwest answered with five consecutive scores to fend off the comeback.
“I thought we played a decent first half,” Central coach Patrick Battle said. “Then we came out in the third quarter very relaxed and didn’t play hard – that’s just not us. We’ve lacked a little focus here lately, and I think that finally caught up to us.
“We just played hard (in the first half), and that always gives us a chance. … They can be really good when they all decide they want to play hard. We’ve never really out-skilled anyone, but we’ve played tough – and that’s what we did the first two days.”
Both teams play again Friday, with Southwest hosting Eastern Guilford, and Andrews visiting rival High Point Central.