NEWBERRY — The Newberry High School Bulldogs turned to their defense in the opening round of the playoffs to get past the Chesnee High Eagles. The boys turned on the defensive pressure in the third quarter to pull away.
The Bulldog boys never trailed on Thursday as they defeated Chesnee 78-54.
Newberry clung to a four-point lead at the break, 30-26, but would go on a 25-to-15 point run in the third quarter to lead by 14 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Senior Trey Miller led the team in scoring with 18. Close Behind him were Jaylen Lindsay and Notorious Booker with 14 and Trey Gary with 10.
Coach Chad Cary realized early on his Bulldogs were not as sharp shooting as he would have liked, so he challenged them to step up on defense.
They held Chesnee’s leading scorer to two points from the line and just three two-point baskets. The guard/forward hit a few three pointers from NBA range with a hand in his face, but Cary said the game plan all along was to force lower percentage outside shots and to clamp down on the team’s role players.
“Our kids listened. This group will take it to heart if you tell them there is a star player on the other side because our guys set out to prove they are as good or better that he,” Cary said.
In the second half, the Dogs extended their press on defense and did traps at half court. Those adjustments paid dividends for the Bulldogs.
“We held their star, Deion Holmes, in check, limiting him to three-point baskets,” Cary said, “and that was a big difference maker. He hit five three’s but made just three two point shots and hit just two from the foul line.”
He was held to 23 points and came in averaging 35 per game.
Ten players scored for the Dogs in a balanced effort.
Trey Gary had 10 and Bennett Wilson added nine. Devin Harmon scored seven and “played the best game I have seen him play in two years,” Cary said.
Chesnee went 13-of-22 from the free-throw line as they only made four trips in there in the entire second half, which were all in the fourth quarter.
Newberry went 14-of-26 from the charity stripe, as they converted 11 of these shots in the second half.