Saturday, December 22, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Bison charge past Palestine-Wheatley

Leader sportswriter

The Carlisle Bison got back into the winning column in a big way Thursday, beating fellow 2A-6 Conference-member Palestine-Wheatley 60-28 at Bison Arena.

Palestine-Wheatley has won only one game this season, but it came against Marvell, the same team that beat Carlisle 78-73 last week at Bison Arena. The Bison had an off night against the Mustangs, and didn’t play their best defense in the losing effort. Against the Patriots, Carlisle was more than ready.

“We said the keys for today is we want defensive energy, we wanted to share the ball, we wanted to dominate on possessions, and we wanted to have fun,” said Carlisle coach William Rountree. “And, you know, we lost a couple of games here in the last 10 days which we don’t think we should’ve lost. But we did, and the kids played good tonight.”

Palestine-Wheatley (1-9, 1-5) scored the first four points of the game. Senior point guard Chris Hart scored the first points for the Bison (4-3, 3-3) with an and-one play at the 5:48 mark, which cut the Patriots’ lead to 4-3. But it wasn’t long after that Carlisle committed its third turnover on a travel by junior post player Deron Ricks as he brought the ball up court.

Rountree called timeout after the turnover, and afterwards, the Bison began forcing turnovers instead of committing them. Carlisle finished the quarter with a 13-3 scoring run, and its press defense was highly-effective in the turnaround. The Bison forced nine Patriot turnovers in the quarter, and 32 for the game.

Palestine-Wheatley committed 14 of those turnovers in the second quarter, which helped Carlisle increase its lead to 34-13 by halftime. The Bison upped the margin in the third quarter by outscoring the Patriots 17-3 to take a comfortable 51-16 lead by the start of the fourth.

Chris Clayvon Edwards had a big third quarter for the Bison off the bench. Edwards, a senior post player, scored just three points in the quarter, but snagged six rebounds, had one steal, an assist and one block.

“He had a good second half,” Rountree said of Edwards. “He’s got a chance to be a nice player. He was big down the stretch for us. We have to have him. That’s the thing with us. You look out there and see who starts. It doesn’t really matter. We’re going to play nine or 10 every time.”

The sportsmanship rule was invoked at the start of the fourth quarter as Carlisle led by 35 points. The Bison starters sat the majority of the fourth, and Palestine-Wheatley outscored Carlisle 12-9 down the stretch to set the final score. It was a solid bounce-back performance for Carlisle, who hopes to carry the momentum from the win into its annual Bison Holiday Hoops tournament, which begins Dec. 27 and lasts through Dec. 29.

“I just thought we had outstanding effort overall,” Rountree said. “We put good pressure on the ball, got some easies, we moved the ball around well. And really, everybody that played, played good. So, you know, we have a chance to be a pretty good team. We’re 4-3 going into the break, and we’ve showed flashes of being a good team.”

Austin Reed led the Bison with 15 points. Dathan Hill scored 13. Edwards finished a board shy of a double-double as he scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had four blocks. Hart finished with eight points, six assists and four steals. Justice Bryant had six points, and Braden Reed scored four. The Bison will play Bradford in the opening round of its holiday tournament at 8 p.m. on Dec. 27.