By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports
In a lot of first-round playoff games, there is a feeling-out process with unfamiliar foes. Some people would categorize Captain Shreve and Live Oak going through that in their Friday night 5A bi-district matchup. Coach Corey Deans called it something else.
“We seemed like we were disinterested until the third quarter,” said Shreve’s coach. “The defense was there all game, but the offense looked like we had never played basketball before. I will say this. We need to get ready for practice.”
While it took the rest of the squad some time to get it in gear, Kyron Reed was in go-mode from the jump. His two 3-pointers helped Shreve gain an 8-6 advantage at the end of the first. He spent the rest of the game on automatic as his 24-point night propelled Captain Shreve to a 63-41 victory over an inexperienced but tenacious Live Oak squad.
“He (Kyron) shot the lights out of the ball and saved us,” Deans stated. “What else can you say about Kyron Reed? He had an overall good game. His defense was good. I didn’t take him out of the game until it was decided.”
From the beginning of the game until the 5:40 mark in the first, the game looked as if it was going to be a slow grinder. Shreve did not score until a layup by Mekel Hart with 2:20 left in the first due to the Live Oak zone which caused the Captain Shreve offense to commit several turnovers. The Shreve defense was just as good but had allowed layups to Eagle guards Sammy Smith and Jamarion Thomas.
Live Oaks coach Tiras Magee was dismayed and actually verbalized it at one point. “We have six turnovers!” was his statement to is players, because the Shreve defense was so good.
While Davieon Coleman scored six of his 10 points in the second quarter to help widen the home team’s advantage, it was not until the third quarter when everything began clicking for the Gators.
Christan Ford nailed a three to begin the third quarter and the floodgates opened from there. Shreve outscored Live Oak 32-18 in that quarter and never looked back.
The Live Oak guards had trouble staying in contact with Reed and he made them pay for it with 13 points in the quarter. He also made three of his game-high 6 threes in the decisive third stanza.
“We have to come out and play the way we did in the third quarter,” was Deans’ assessment. “If we don’t, we will get blown out in our own gym.”
Live Oak was led in scoring by Sammy Smith who scored eight of his team-high 12 in the second half. The visitors finished the year with a record of 15-13.
Captain Shreve will host Class of 2024 top-5 guard Kohen Rowbatham and the 11th-seeded Northshore Panthers in the Swamp on Tuesday night in the regional round of the 5A playoffs. Tip will be at 6 o’clock.
Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS