ROCKINGHAM — After watching Bible Baptist Christian slice a 23-point deficit to 11 in less than three minutes, Temple Christian coach John Byrd knew he had to change his defense.
Byrd switched to a 3-2 zone from a 2-3 and it paid off as the Tigers pulled away for a 75-62 victory Tuesday night.
Temple Christian led 49-26 on Greg Hagins’ steal and layup at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter. Then the Colts got hot from beyond the 3-point arc. Jared Daulton drained three 3-pointers and Andrew Daulton hit another to cap a 14-2 run to force a timeout.
“For a while Broderick (Hair) and I have been working on switching our defenses,” Byrd said. “We’re like Jim Boeheim-type guys that we like to use a 2-3 zone. We weren’t getting out on their shooters quick enough, so we went with a 3-2 zone. I think that was the difference because our kids were able to get out on their shooters.”
After the change in strategy, Bible Baptist failed to hit a 3-pointer the rest of the way.
“You can coach yourself to death, but if the kids don’t respond, it doesn’t matter,” Byrd said. “These kids responded. They are such a good group.
“Basketball is a streak sport, there are going to be runs. Whoever is going to have the most is going to win.”
Cuentin Bridges, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, could tell the switch to the 3-2 zone bothered Bible Baptist.
“It condensed their shooting and their percentage went down,” Bridges said. “They didn’t have so many open shots after that.”
Bridges also played a key role in getting the Tigers (16-2) out to a big halftime lead as he scored 11 of his points in the second quarter. Bridges had nine points in a 13-2 run which turned a four-point lead into 15.
“I don’t know what got me going,” Bridges said. “Mr. Byrd definitely gets you going when he is yelling at you.”
Kurth Nelson recorded another double-double in the victory, scoring 24 points and snagging 16 rebounds. Hagins chipped in with 13 points and Russ Byrd knocked down three 3-pointers to finish with 11.
Andrew Daulton netted a team-high 17 for Bible Baptist (3-8). Abner Torres added 15 and Jared Daulton scored 11.
Temple Christian is slated to return to action 6:30 p.m. Friday when it travels to Tabernacle Christian in Monroe.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.