|By Jim Workman|
FOR THE GAZETTE
The Charleston Gazette
Winfield knew it had to keep tabs on Calhoun County’s Marcus Davis in
Wednesday morning’s Class AA state tournament quarterfinal, but the Generals
all but dared Davis — the state’s third-leading scorer at 26.8 points per contest —
to beat them with his outside shot.
Winfield employed a zone defense instead of a specialized defense to
double-team Davis, and it worked as the Generals posted a convincing 68-50
victory at the Civic Center. No. 10-ranked Winfield (20-6) advances to play No. 5
Westside in the semifinals at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Westside was a 58-49 winner over previously unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Oak
Calhoun hit just 18-of-58 field goal attempts and just 9-of-36 3-pointers. Davis
finished with a team-high 24 points, but connected on only 9-of-23 from the floor
and 6-of-16 from the 3-point arc.
“They gave us a look at the 3, and we just had to take it,” said Calhoun coach
Tim Davis, father of Marcus Davis. “We’re used to seeing junk defenses or a
man-to-man every night. They play good zone defense, and it’s tough to shoot
over because they’re so big. Even though you’re on the arc, it’s not a wide-open
shot because they step out so quick. They have some nice athletes.”
“Our zone has been real good to us,” said Winfield coach Pat McGinnis. “It helps
our fast break when we can get the big guys on the boards. If we can get the
matchup, it’s the best thing for us. Defense has been the name of the game for us
all year. It will take you a long way.
“Davis hit a couple on us early, but we went from a 1-2-2 zone to a 2-3 and that
got us out on the corners better. That’s where he likes to shoot from.”
Winfield led 36-19 at halftime as Tyler Kovarik scored 18 of his game-high 27
points in the first half. He also had 12 rebounds, and T.L. Asbury contributed 12
points and 14 rebounds. Evan Ashworth added nine points and five assists while
Joel Jones and Charlie Putnam chipped in with eight points each. The Generals
held a 49-30 advantage on the boards.
Calhoun narrowed the deficit to seven (38-31) after going on a 12-2 run to open
the second half, but the Generals regrouped following a timeout and went on a
9-0 spurt of their own to take command.
“Halftime might have been our biggest enemy, because we cooled off a little bit,”
McGinnis said. “We let them back in it when they got some momentum and fire,
but we got it turned back around.”
Winfield used their height to their advantage and controlled the boards,” Tim
Davis said. “They ran the floor well and got some easy buckets. We battled back
and got to within seven in the second half, but we were just worn down
physically. We got ourselves in a hole, and it was a little too much to dig out of.
Winfield has a good basketball team. The better team won today — it was well
Jake Perkins added 10 points and three steals for the Red Devils.
Calhoun (19-6) was making its first state tournament appearance in the school’s
81-year history. The school’s dwindling enrollment will drop the Red Devils to
Class A status next season.
“We were considered one of the Cinderella teams, and now it’s midnight for us, I
guess,” Tim Davis said.
“We were pretty nervous,” Marcus Davis admitted. “There’s a big opening on the
end [at the Civic Center], and we’re used to having a wall behind the basket. It
looks a little farther away. I hit my first two shots and just went cold for a while.
They were too big. We couldn’t handle them.”
Davis, a first-team all-state selection as a sophomore and junior, finished his prep
career with 1,978 points and 271 3-pointers.