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St. Albans Wins Opener 81-76
Rick Ryan, Charleston Gazette
dmiller@wvrsn.com
December 11, 2007


David Griffith poured in 25 points and Devin Carter 23 as the Red Dragons earned a season-opening victory for first-year coach Marshall Kiser, who had previously coached at Herbert Hoover and Dunbar.

bball St Albans #12
Dom Yarbough
photos by David Miller

The halfcourt trap defense didn't always work out the way St. Albans wanted it to, but it sure worked out when the Red Dragons needed it most. St. Albans forced 14 second-half turnovers and rallied down the stretch for an 81-76 victory over Tolsia in Tuesday's final game of the West Virginia Hoops Classic at the Civic Center. David Griffith poured in 25 points and Devin Carter 23 as the Red Dragons earned a season-opening victory for first-year coach Marshall Kiser, who had previously coached at Herbert Hoover and Dunbar. "We scored 81 points,'' Kiser said, "but we struggled in our halfcourt offense. It was mostly because of our halfcourt defense.'' The halfcourt trap was hit-and-miss much of the way for SA.

bball SA vs Tolsi For instance, Tolsia shot 62 percent in the second half, but still managed to fritter away a 39-34 halftime lead. When the Rebels solved the defense, it usually meant an easy basket inside. Tolsia, which led by as many as nine points in the first half, was still up three when the trap really started to take its toll with under four minutes left in the game.

Noah Osborne turned a steal by Dominique Yarbrough into a fast-break layup to tie it at 69 with three minutes to go.

Griffith was then hacked, hit the front end of a two-shot foul and was able to rebound the ensuing miss for a putback and a 72-69 advantage. A few seconds later, Yarbrough again caused a steal and Osborne scooted downfloor for another layup and a five-point edge.

SA protected its lead by sinking 13-of-17 free throws in the final quarter, and finished the game 31-of-38 at the line.

"We played hard,'' said Mark Marcum, Tolsia's first-year coach, "but we had a lot of turnovers and a lot of fouls. Those are things we can clean up, and we'll be all right. [Turnovers] are going to be trouble for us, because we're young.''

St. Albans managed to win with pressure defense despite dressing just nine players and using only seven. Three potentially important players Jon Austin, Nick Woodrum and Zack Hodges sat out for a variety of reasons, but all are expected back soon.

"I was really happy with our fortitude,'' Kiser said. "We used the halfcourt trap most of the game and expended a lot of energy with just two [substitutes] and not a lot of experience out there sometimes.

"I think they hustled pretty well. We got behind early and stayed behind for long periods throughout the game and gave up some easy shots, but I was happy that when we got down, we continued to fight back and play hard. We forced a lot of turnovers and a lot of deflections. That caused a lot of chaos in there. From that standpoint, I'm happy with it because intensity has been one of our biggest concerns here the last few years.''

Yarbrough, who was selected as St. Albans' game MVP, added 15 points and Osborne came off the bench to tally 12, all of them in the second half. Kiser also praised the effort of reserve Josh Goble, who provided some quality minutes.

The Rebels received double-figure scoring efforts from Kenny Muncy (23 points), Derrick Robertson (16), Channing Preece (13) and Brandon Maynard (11). Preece, who canned four 3s, was chosen as his team's MVP.

To contact assistant sports editor Rick Ryan, use e-mail or call 348-5175.

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