Defense, defense, defense.
The South Western boys basketball team has bought into the philosophy that pressure busts pipes.
The Mustangs’ hounding defense and patented inside-outside game overcame an onslaught of three-pointers from sharpshooting Delone Catholic. And so South Western delivered a thorough hammering of its cross-town rival, 63-43, at the Mustang Corral Saturday night.
“Every game we say ‘under 50 points.’ If we can hold the opponent to under 50, we feel we have the best chance to win,” said South Western’s Parker Bean, who dropped a game-high 17 points and clamped down on Delone’s frontline.
“Defense leads to our offense. When we get those steals, we get fast breaks. We get touches in the post. We get kick out 3-pointers. It all comes from defensive stops. You’ve got to get a stop to get the ball back. Delone Catholic has great shooters, most of their game was from the outside and drive penetration. It makes it a little easier when they don’t have a big post presence down low. ”
Defense set the tone. Balanced scoring and boardwork additionally propelled the undefeated Mustangs to another statement win.
Don’t look now, but the Mustangs are on the map. This team has made a habit out of closing out tight battles.
They’ve gone into the rich hoops real estate of York and York City, leaving with signature victories. They’ve clawed back from double-digit deficits. They’ve had a flair for the dramatic in overtime. The end product has been a 12-0 start that very few saw coming.
Beyond Bean’s 17, Mike Duffy scored 14. Mike Felton put up 11. Rafe Sanders and Jamahn Lee added 13 and eight, respectively.
The Mustangs’ defensive grit heightened during the third quarter, when they outscored the Squires by a 22-13 margin. Duffy sparked the offensive fireworks with a pull-up jumper and threeball, swelling the lead to 10.
Rafe Sanders kick-started a vital 7-0 spurt when he bagged a three-pointer, supplying the the Mustangs with a 43-31 edge. Ten seconds later, Duffy ripped the ball from a Delone guard and finished a fast break layup.
Just when you thought Delone would halt the bleeding with a deep jumper, the defensive pressure instigated another costly turnover.
Another swipe led to another transition bucket. Bean finished with authority to cap the run and hand the Mustangs a commanding 47-33 bulge.
“It was another fun one,” said South Western coach Nate Brodbeck, who was able to empty out his bench with a thread under one minute remaining.
Veteran Delone Catholic coach Jim Dooley threw a zone defense at Brodbeck’s Mustangs. South Western answered by pounding the ball inside to Bean.
Buckets by Felton supplemented Bean on the interior. Lee, Sanders, and Duffy stretched out and shredded the Squires off the dribble.
The emergence of Lee (who scored 17 points, including the game-winner during a pulsating 58-57 win over Central York on Friday) has taken some of the offensive burden from Bean, the junior on whom South Western leaned so heavily last season.
It was Bean who set the tone in the first quarter, and boy was that tone high. Ear drum shattering high. Bean stripped a Delone Catholic ball handler, dribbled down court like a guard, levitated above the rim and crushed a ferocious two-handed dunk that sent the gym into a frenzy. The banger supplied the Mustangs with a 13-4 edge.
The Squires trailed by as many as 12 in the first half.
They rattled off a 9-2 run to close out the half, whittling a 13-point deficit down to five. They never got closer.
The Mustangs weathered a long range storm in the second half. Dainty Delone guard Seth Bullers (who scored 15 points on the strength of three deep trifectas) developed the hot hand.
Bullers deposited a trey from NBA range. The slim shootist kept gunning at the Mustangs’ lead. Jack Comly buried a monster 3, slicing South Western’s lead to 50-42.
South Western answered via its own three-point specialist. Sanders, who bagged four triples, popped a three that gave South Western a 53-42 bulge.
“I didn’t think we came out blazing hot offensively, but our defense was able to dictate the tempo,” said Brodbeck.
He’s not wrong.
Bean had two loud swats during the first three minutes. Sanders came in for a block to dead a fast break. Reserve forward Zach Updegrove took a charge that revved up the team’s bench.
Squires guard Brett Smith poured in 10 points. Smith darted out to the top of the key and stuck a 3, cutting the Mustangs’ lead to six in the first half.
In the decisive third quarter, Smith thwarted the 7-0 spurt with a jumper in traffic. The veteran and pre-season area Player of the Year candidate found himself forcing the issue at times, wilting under South Western’s hand-in-your-face defense.
Following a listless first quarter, Delone Catholic pieced together a potent perimeter game. Comly and Sellers each dialed in from deep, bringing the Squires back from a double-digit deficit.
A win of this magnitude has South Western dripping with confidence.
This was before a jam-packed crowd. It was on their home court. It was against the same kids with whom they grew up playing with and against. The Mustangs scrimmaged Delone over the summer. Included in that scrimmage was some trash talk here, some staredowns there and even a little taunting.
“The Delone game is something we start looking forward to during the summer,” deadpanned Bean.
“We’ve been getting ready for this game. You can see all the fans that came out tonight. Delone’s a great team, we love playing against them.”
In Lee, Bean’s words resonated.
“South Western v.s. Delone Catholic is always intense.”
So is South Western’s defense.