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Dobyns-Bennett topples Chattanooga Brainerd in Arby's Classic

Bill Lane • Dec 29, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Dobyns-Bennett basketball coach Charlie Morgan is a proponent of man-to-man defense. His past teams have fed off it.

However, there comes a time in every coach’s career that he must improvise to fit his personnel.

The Indians (7-4) have incorporated zone coverage into their defense, and it’s working wonders.

“That’s my special defense,’’ Morgan said tongue-in-cheek after Tuesday’s 58-37 win over Chattanooga Brainerd (8-6) in the Arby’s Classic.

Flashes of the zone gave Brainerd shooters a different look and also changed the pace of the game.

The long and short of it for D-B was the scoring of 6-foot-4 forward Adam Denison and 5-8 guard Darius Davis.

Denison, the only frontline holdover from last year’s team, was 9-of-14 on field goal attempts and perfect at the foul line as he scored 25 points. Davis sank 5 of 8 shots from the floor and made 8 of 10 free throws in scoring 18.

D-B beat Brainerd at its own game — the fast break — and slowed veteran coach Robert High’s quest for the 1,000-victory plateau.

“Lordy mercy,’’ High said. “I told our players after the loss to Palmetto they’d have to regroup and not let that game bother them.

“Our guard play is awful, but I don’t want to take anything away from Dobyns-Bennett. (The Indians) played hard. That’s one of the most fundamental teams you’re going to run into.’’

Outrebounded 30-21 by the taller Panthers, the Tribe shot 45 percent from the field, stole the ball 15 times and committed only 10 turnovers. Late in the game, D-B extended its lead by stalling.

“They’ve gained experience and their maturity showed today,’’ Morgan said of the Indians. “We spent some time in practice yesterday going over our delay offense. We wanted to run time off the clock — let it tick down. Our guys did a pretty good job with it.’’

Davis, who had four assists, skillfully directed the offense in his 16 minutes of play.

“We knew we had to be patient,’’ he said. “We’ve gotten a whole lot better. Everybody’s clicking, and we’re playing as a team.’’

The Indians, trailing by two after one quarter, erupted for 38 points in the next 16 minutes.

Denison, who was on the floor for all 32 minutes, hit several shots from long range.

D.J. Porter, Brainerd’s 6-8 center, accounted for nine rebounds but was limited to six points. Darrius Higgins led the Panthers with 18 points.

D-B will face Father Henry Carr, a Canadian team, at 10:30 a.m. today.

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