While the final score might lead one to think that Friday night’s Region 8-AAA contest between Berkeley and Stall was a competitive game, the region- leading Stags actually had very little trouble.
The trio of Peyton Thompson, Alex Taylor and Demery Ford each scored 12 points as the Stags (14-3, 4-0) built a huge lead through quarters on their way to a 54-41 win over the host Warriors.
Taylor, Berkeley’s 6-7 post man, finished with seven blocked shots as well.
While Stall (11-4, 1-2) made it interesting late, out-scoring Berkeley, 23-8, in the fourth quarter, the early damage was too much to overcome.
“I thought we played very well tonight,” said Berkeley coach Joe Wallace. “The last seven games or so have been decided by three or less points and I was really looking for us to put this type of game together. We came out aggressive on both ends of the floor, really set the tone defensively, and I thought we did a fantastic job of passing the ball and getting really good shots. We’ve been stressing sharing the basketball and tonight the guys really bought in.”
Berkeley dictated the game from the outset, opening a 13-2 lead less than four minutes into the game. Ford scored the first seven points of the game in less than two minutes and Thompson followed with six straight points.
The Stags led, 21-6, after one quarter and essentially put the game away with an 11-2 second quarter, grabbing a 32-8 halftime lead.
Berkeley upped its advantage to 46-18 after three quarters and Stall opened the fourth period with a 14-2 run against some of Berkeley’s backups. Wallace was forced to put his starters back in for the final three minutes.
Rajae Hutchinson led the Warriors, who dropped to 1-3 in region play, with 12 points.
The win was Berkeley’s third region road win heading into Tuesday night’s showdown with rival Hanahan. While pleased with his team’s start in region play, Wallace wants no part of the early region championship talk.
“This thing is a long ways from over,” said Wallace. “We have done a good job up to this point of winning several close games but we know how competitive this region is every night. We have Hanahan on Tuesday and then we have to go through it all again. Hopefully we can be mature and stay focused and be ready to play every time we hit the floor.”
Stall won the girls matchup, 55-38, improving to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in Region 8-AAA play. Leading Stall’s winning effort were Alexys Patrick (11 points), Alexus Richardson (10 points) and Kiana Bobbitt (10 points).
Berkeley dropped to 8-8 overall and 1-3 in region play.
Berkeley (54) – Peyton Thompson 12, Demery Ford 12, Alex Taylor 12, Meggett 5, Butler 4, Matthews 3, Dorsey 6.
Stall (41) – Rajae Hutchinson 12, Grant 4, Peterson 4, McCoy 4, Whitney 4, Tolbert 4, Robinson 4, Manigault 2, Drayton 2, Ancrum 1.