Things certainly didn’t start well for head coach Antoine Youmans and the Battery Creek boys basketball team on Saturday night.
But Youmans and the Dolphins (22-3) have to be pleased with how they ended, with a 64-60 win over Lee Central (15-7) and a big date Wednesday at No. 1 Ridgeland-Hardeeville in the third round of the boys 2-A playoffs.
Hosting Lee Central in the second round, the Dolphins found themselves in a tight spot early when star big man Eric Freeman picked up his second foul early in the first quarter.
“Freeman got two early fouls,” Youmans said. “And that dictated everything.”
But second-half adjustments on defense, the dominance of Freeman -- Lee Central didn’t have a player who could match Freeman’s physicality -- and the grittiness of Devontae Wilson down the stretch helped BC overcome the four-point half-time deficit.
Wilson scored 13 points and had three assists, but seven of those points came in the fourth quarter that started with the Dolphins trailing by a point.
“Wilson made some really tough shots,” Youmans said. “He did a good job of finishing the job. He stepped up and came up big. I think he had three blocks down the stretch. He hustled his butt off all night.”
“I just go on instinct,” Wilson said.
Youmans specifically mentioned the play of Christian Brown on defense. The Dolphins mixed it up in the third and fourth quarters, trapping, falling into a zone and occasionally trapping the ball at the top.
Montrell Smith led the Stallions with 15 points, while Tyronne Wilson added 12.
The outcome might have been different if the Stallions had hit free throws down the stretch. They finished the night with 16 makes in 28 attempts, but eight of their 12 misses came in the fourth quarter.
Eric Freeman led the Dolphins in scoring with 20 points and added six rebounds despite sitting much of the first half with two fouls.
“It affected out chemistry,” Freeman said of his foul trouble. “It put limitations on us.”
He also sat a couple minutes in the fourth quarter after picking up his fourth foul.
Adonis Williams added 11 points and seven assists for the Dolphins.