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Southeast boys too much for Kapaun

Published Dec. 13 at 11:11 p.m. | Last updated Dec. 13 at 11:11 p.m.

There is a window for the Southeast boys basketball program to restore its tradition and become a Class 6A power once again.

That is why the next step in the rebuilding process, becoming a consistent winner, is so crucial to the Buffaloes and their second-year coach, Melvin Herring.

Nothing can be proven after two games, but Southeast (2-0) certainly showed how its defensive intensity can be devastating in its 70-43 victory over visiting Kapaun Mount Carmel on Friday evening.

“We’re learning how to become basketball players,” Herring said, “instead of just playing basketball.”

The talent is there for Southeast, in senior EJ Garnes and his ability to command a game, in young sophomore Jerrick Harding and his ability to pile on the points, in Octevious Loudermilk and his tantalizing athleticism in his 6-foot-5 frame.

Now they’re learning how to use as a cohesive unit, as they did against Kapaun.

The Crusaders were so inefficient in penetrating the lane, they had to settle for outside jump shot after outside jump shot. The result was not pretty — 29.5-percent shooting for the game, marred by a 1-for-21 performance from the three-point line and taking a pounding on the boards, where Southeast held a 46-29 advantage.

“We’ve got to figure it out,” Kapaun coach John Cherne said. “We’ve got to develop a little hard nose.”

That’s something Southeast has in abundance, especially on the defensive end where it leverages its extreme quickness to create a manic intensity.

Garnes is well aware of the talent surrounding him and did a brilliant job distributing to his options. While Harding scored many of his game-high 20 points on his own, Garnes played a large part in the production of Jordan Murdock (three three’s and 11 points) and Loudermilk (12 points).

The senior point guard played a complete game: 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists on offense, then he harassed Kapaun’s leading scorer, Atir Cherne, into 7-of-18 shooting and four turnovers.

“He’s our commander out there,” Murdock said. “He gets it to us whenever we’re open. He’s so good when defenses collapse on him kicking it out and we just hit the shots.”

When Kapaun knew it had to do a better job at managing the tempo after it survived the first half with only an eight-point deficit, at 32-24, Southeast’s will over-powered it.

It took the Buffaloes but a few minutes into the third quarter to reel off a 10-2 run to establish command of the game with a 42-26 lead. Kapaun failed to trim the lead under double figures the rest of the game.

Harding, who scored one point on four shots in the first half, was dynamic in the third and fourth quarters, pouring in 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

A season after being forced to learn through its losses, Southeast can sense the process begin to enter the next phase. It wants to prove games like Friday night are not an aberration.

“Last year was so worth it, going through all of that,” Garnes said. “Now we’ve got that chemistry and it feels great. We like winning.”

Kapaun141091043
Southeast1418172170

Kapaun: Cherne 7 2-2 16, Ewers 1 0-0 3, Patton 2 0-0 4, Auer 1 0-0 2, Dempsey 3 3-4 9, Hickerson 2 1-2 5, Sheets 1 0-1 2, Hope 1 0-0 2.

Southeast: Garnes 4 6-9 14, Harding 8 3-4 20, Murdock 4 0-0 11, Love 1 0-0 2, Loudermilk 5 1-3 12, Franklin 2 0-0 5, Oyugi 3 0-0 6.