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Buffaloes get back to fundamentals

Published Jan. 10 at 11:15 p.m. | Last updated Jan. 11 at 6:50 a.m.

An inconsistency on defense has plagued the Southeast boys in their past three games — that included two wins by a combined 13 points and a loss to North.

“The past few games we’ve been getting away from pressuring up,” Southeast senior EJ Garnes said. “Against Carroll we didn’t pressure like we need to. (Monday) in practice, we really focused on getting up in the passing lanes.”

“Northwest is a very good team, and they like to set screens, get a great shot, so we tried to speed them up, push them off the screens. It really worked out for us.”

The difference was obvious in Friday’s 58-35 win at Northwest as the Buffaloes forced 14 turnovers to improve to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the City League.

Garnes had five steals.

“We sped them up, pressured the ball and trapped,” Southeast sophomore Jerrick Harding said.

Northwest controlled the opening quarter with physical play inside, getting two blocked shots from Brett Johnston and one from Cortez Carr. It was an important defensive stand for the Grizzlies because of Southeast’s affinity for driving to the basket.

“We were really trying to focus on keeping EJ out of the middle and be able to get back to their shooters,” Northwest coach Chris Collins said. “But as you can see, that didn’t work for very long. I think we got careless with the basketball.”

After Northwest took a 16-12 lead off Kaleb Cobb’s transition basket, Southeast took over.

Southeast senior Jordan Murdock scored nine second-quarter points, and with a 22-16 lead, Garnes had consecutive steals and fastbreak baskets, including one after a Northwest timeout. Garnes’ basket with 1:19 to go in the second quarter capped a 14-0 run.

With a 26-18 lead at the half, Southeast then held Northwest to four third-quarter points. The Buffaloes forced 10 of Northwest’s 14 turnovers in the second and third quarters.

A key for Southeast was its offense as the Buffaloes made 24 of 53 shots, including 4 of 9 from three-point range.

They also had players get hot at various times. Harding scored six of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter, while Murdock scored nine of his 12 in the second period, and Garnes scored eight of his 14 in the fourth.

“It’s unselfish basketball,” Southeast coach Melvin Herring said. “Basketball is a game of unselfishness. If you’re playing unselfish, you’re going to win, otherwise you have miscues, turnovers.

“That’s what I’m proud of with our kids. They’ve become very unselfish, they’re trusting each other, believing in each other.”

Collins feels the opposite with his team, which he said seems to be focused on stats.

“We got up 16-12, and what’s been plaguing us all year kind of crept back in. We’re just a very selfish team. Until we right that, we’re going to struggle,” said Collins, whose team is 3-4.

Northwest was led by Aaron Nicholson’s 10 points and Carr’s 16 rebounds.

Southeast818131958
Northwest11741335

SOUTHEAST: Harding 19, Love 2, Franklin 2, Garnes 14, Oyugi 4, Murdock 12, Payne 2, Newton 3.

NORTHWEST: Carr 7, Cobb 4, Williams 7, Nicholson 10, Miller 3, Hamilton 4.

Northwest's awesome pregame huddle and dance.

Northwest's band and fans

Southeast's EJ Garnes

Southeast's Jerrick Harding