no avatar

Sullivan South's size overwhelms North

Bill Lane • Dec 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Mark Pendleton and Mitch Cox have switched allegiances since their high school playing days in Sullivan County.

Pendleton, a former North center, is South’s head basketball coach. Cox, a former South forward, is North’s head coach.

Their teams tangled Monday night and it seemed unusual to see both coaches going against their alma maters.

South won handily 61-37 by implementing a taller lineup to take command of the game at the outset. The Rebels (6-6) were particularly effective with a tight man-to-man defense.

Nobody finished in double figures for South but Pendleton wasn’t complaining. Ten of his players scored.

“Everybody played hard and got a lot of playing time,’’ Pendleton said. “Every player had a hand in the win. I’m proud of the effort all these kids gave.’’

Logan Blair, a 6-foot-6 junior post player, established South’s attack by scoring the first six points. Tyler Ashworth added two for an 8-0 lead.

“Blair was big early,’’ Pendleton said. “He got a lot of open looks against North’s zone.’’

North made quick adjustments and pulled within two points at 11-9 on the scoring of 6-3 Eric Herring.

However, the surge was short lived. Ashworth changed the tone with a putback, a slam dunk after stealing the ball and a fast-break layup. This sparked an unstoppable momentum.

By halftime, the Rebels were up by 16 points and continued to stretch the margin after the break.

Herring, who led North with 15 points, was almost a one-man band in the early going. He got 10 of these in the opening half.

“He’s hard to guard,’’ Pendleton said. “When you think Herring is out of position catching the ball, he still finds the basket. We did a better job guarding after halftime by fouling less.

“We limited open shots and second-chance points.’’

South dominated the boards and frequently forced the Golden Raiders to shoot off balance.

Cox was disappointed in North’s lack of aggression. He expected more intensity.

“The bottom line is, we had 10 days off and it definitely showed tonight,’’ he said. “We just backed down from a challenge. That definitely is going to get fixed.

“I felt that we stood a good chance of going toe to toe with South. We didn’t get good shots because we weren’t aggressive.’’

The poor performance disrupted what had appeared to be a new beginning for North with the return of Herring from an injury.

William White followed Herring in scoring for North with 11 points. Dylan Price hit three treys.

South got nine points each from Blair and sky-jumping Andrew Pickwell and eight apiece from Ashworth, Ethan Bates and Tyler Moore.

South will play University High next Monday in the Raider Holiday Hoops at North.

Recommended for You

    Kingsport Times News Videos