It looked as if Stadium’s offense was going to be effective as they jumped out to a 13-10 lead on Decatur in the first quarter. But the Tigers began missing shots and turning the ball over against the Gators’ zone defense, becoming ineffective for most of the game in an eventual 54-40 loss on Dec. 28 at the Bill Riley Communities Family Holiday Classic at Decatur High School.
“They did a good job in their zone of flying around, and they kept the ball out of the middle,” said Stadium head coach Doug Cocke’ of Decatur.
After falling behind early, Taylor Strickland tied it 8-8 with a layup with two minutes left in the first quarter after leaping to catch a nice pass from Jordan Powers. Eric Anderson-Connolly gave the Tigers their first lead with a jumper on the next possession to give the Tigers their first lead. After the Gators’ Jason Young hit a three-pointer to tie it early in the second, Bobby Moorehead nailed a three for the Tigers to give them a 16-14 lead. It would be their last lead of the game. The Tigers’ offense hit a funk, scoring four points in the final seven minutes of the half, and the defense had no answer for Young and fellow senior Kevin Locascio.
Young’s layup gave Decatur a 24-20 lead at the half, and after Malik Mayeux pulled Stadium within 24-22 quickly after halftime, the Gators launched a quick 9-0 run – capped by Locascio’s three-point play – to take control. The Tigers never got closer than a nine-point deficit the rest of the way, as Young finished with 20 points while Locascio added 19 points for the Gators.
“We’re not the swiftest team out there,” Cocke’ said. “Those guys really stepped up and hit big shots for Decatur, and defensively we didn’t close out very well on the shooters.”
One bright spot for Stadium was the play of forward Lucious Brown, who came off the bench to lead the Tigers with 13 points and nine rebounds.
“He’s coming along (well), he can play,” said Cocke’ of Brown, who is still recovering from an injury.
Mayeux added seven points for Stadium, while Decatur held forward Corey Glackin-Coley to just six points and Anderson-Connolly to four points. The Tigers responded on Dec. 29 with a 71-58 win over Kennedy in their second game at the Holiday Classic.