Thomas Heyward Academy boys basketball coach Buzz Bonds might appear more laid back than his predecessor, Phillip Rhodes, but that doesn't mean the longtime assistant will bite his tongue when he perceives lack of effort.
The Rebels gave Bonds reason to grumble at times Tuesday but pulled together enough to defeat Patrick Henry, 65-53. Thomas Heyward beat the Patriots handily on the road the previous week and this past Friday notched a big victory over Dorchester Academy.
But Bonds didn't see that level of play Tuesday.
"Tonight we didn't focus very well," Bonds said. "Their team really worked hard. We got beat on the boards, we got beat down the floor. The only difference is we shot better, that's the only reason we won. They beat us in just about every part of the game."
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Guard Davis Owens scored 24 points and delivered several key plays down the stretch, and Seth Jones established an inside presence during the second half to help propel the Rebels.
Bonds has coached the varsity girls and the junior varsity boys during his 22 years at Thomas Heyward, in addition to assisting Rhodes in recent years. This is his first stint leading the varsity boys, but the transition has been smoother, as a large number from his JV team moved up with him.
Owens is one. The guard played for Rhodes during holiday tournaments last year and said Bonds coaches with a calmer demeanor but is passionate about the game.
Bonds said he has carried over some concepts from his time under Rhodes and said he gives players the option on offense to read a defense and react accordingly, rather than feeling the need to run sets each time down the floor.
After the Rebels shot 4 for 17 from 3-point range during the first half Tuesday, Bonds told his players to work inside, and then back out. Patrick Henry trailed by only a point at the half, but Jones' fast start during the third quarter helped the Rebels create separation.
That helped open the perimeter. Consecutive 3-pointers to end the third quarter and start the fourth pushed Thomas Heyward's advantage to 13.
"It's good to know we didn't play our best basketball, by far, and got a win," Owens said. "We've got a lot of things we've got to work on."
Thomas Heyward boys 65, Patrick Henry 53
Thomas Heyward-- Davis Owens 24, Seth Jones 14, Dylan Tillotson 12, Zack Newton 6, Jason Quick 5, Evan Duncan 4.
Patrick Henry-- Gibson Wall 18, Hunter Nix 16, Jesse Peeples 11, Blair Moore 5, Tucker Cochran 2.
Thomas Heyward girls 54, Patrick Henry 26
This isn't the same Thomas Heyward Academy girls basketball team. Not really close.
And yet, familiar elements remain. And the Rebels haven't yet felt a difference in the wins column to start the season.
The defending state champion Rebels rolled by Patrick Henry Academy on Tuesday, their second victory over the Rebels this season. Thomas Heyward improved to 9-0 and is 36-0 since the start of the 2011-12 season.
The fast start comes despite the Rebels losing seven contributors from the championship team, including standout guard Caitlyn Cooler. The Rebels have a thin bench and some young newcomers coach Gary Mazzanna is working to become game-ready.
But the season is young, he said. He hopes to have identified some trustworthy reserves by the start of region play.
Until then, returnees Jamie Malphrus, Brielle Jungblut, Taylor Ernestine and Chandler Cook spark the Rebels' fast-paced style, which favors full-court pressure and quick points over offensive sets. Malphrus finished with a game-high 20 points, and Jungblut added 14.
The Patriots wilted, buried by Thomas Heyward's 19-0 run to start the second half. Mazzanna called off the press late in the third quarter and allowed his bench minutes throughout the second half.
Patrick Henry-- Callie Wiggins 6, Annisa Manuel 6, Holli Beach 4, Joye Peeples 4, Katie Pevey 2, Sarah Sanders 2.
Thomas Heyward -- Jamie Malphrus 20, Brielle Jungblut 14, Chandler Cook 9, Ellie Bryan 6, Taylor Ernestine 4, Hailey Malphrus 2.