Judson inside game thwarts Clemens

by Northeast Herald :: Dec 10, 2009

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Judson inside game thwarts Clemens
Web Posted: 12/10/2009 12:00 CST
By David DeKunder - Staff Writer/Northeast Herald

In a pre-tournament warmup for both teams, the Judson Rockets turned up the defense in the second half as they wore down the Clemens Buffaloes in a 55-35 victory Dec. 1 at Clemens gym.

Ahead by four points, 21-17, at halftime, the Rockets pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Buffaloes 34-18. As soon as Clemens pulled to within 10 at 38-28 after three quarters, Judson clamped down, allowing the Buffaloes only seven points in the final period.

Judson (8-1) had three players score in double figures, led by Mike Stewart with 13 points and Cameron Griffin and Thurman McNeil, each with 10. The Buffaloes had only one player in double figures, senior Joseph Lizcano with 11 points.

Judson coach Mike Wacker said the Rockets' inside game of 7-footer Stuart Lagerson and Karl Wacker, who combined for 11 points, and McNeil dominated the athletic-yet-undersized Buffaloes.

“We tried to make them shoot over us,” Mike Wacker said. “I thought our defense was very effective at that. We had to get to get the rebound because they (Clemens) are very athletic. We are fortunate we did a good job on the boards.”

Wacker said Lagerson's presence in the middle thwarted several Clemens' players attempts to get to the basket.

“Stuart, being 7-foot, is a force inside,” the coach said. “Sometimes it's not all the shots he blocks, it's just the ones he affects because of his size. He did a great job on the defensive glass as did Thurman McNeil and Karl Wacker. It was a team effort rebounding the ball.”

The Rockets started out hot, scoring the first nine points of the game before the Buffaloes scored their first points on free throws with 48.8 seconds left in the first period. The Buffaloes were able to get a couple of baskets and free throws in the second quarter early, to tie the game at 12. Keyed by a three-pointer by Stewart, the Rockets went on a 9-4 run in the last 5:25 of the first half to go up by four at intermission.

Judson opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to take an 11-point lead at 30-19. The Buffaloes came back and trimmed the lead to eight on a Kyle Tokunaga three-pointer, but that would be the closest Clemens would get for the rest of the game.

The Rockets used their win over Clemens as preparation for the South Padre Island Tournament last weekend, where the Rockets finished third, going 2-1 with a loss against Clark. The 73-61 loss to Clark was the Rockets' first of the season, after starting 7-0.

Clemens coach Lance Lewis, whose team went 1-2 during the Lone Star Tournament last weekend, said his team is trying to work in several players who just came from playing football, including seniors Lizcano, Stanley Harris and David Woodfork.

“In the second half, our legs got heavy, we got slow and we quit moving offensively” Lewis said. “We are not going to beat (Judson) settling for jump shots. This is a large group of kids that I am trying to get up to speed on the fly, it is going to take a little time.”

The Buffaloes hosted San Marcos Tuesday night and will compete in the Lake Travis Tournament this weekend. Clemens will play at East Central next Tuesday. Judson will play in the River City Classic in New Braunfels this weekend, starting with Steele today at 4:30 p.m. The Rockets will play this Tuesday against Brackenridge at the Alamo Convocation Center, tip-off is at 8:30 p.m.


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