When the Skyline boys’ basketball team gathered at halftime, Coach Mike Lovelace was quite pleased with 50 percent of how his team was playing. Holding visiting Pioneer to just 22 points in the first half was a credit to the way the Eagles were playing defense.
But Skyline had just 24 points on the board – a credit to the way the Pioneers were playing defense.
“This was our first home game of the season and it was against Pioneer and in front of our big home student section and we just didn’t execute on offense the way we are capable of,” Lovelace said. “We forgot to move a lot and set screens and it was really a struggle to score in the first half. Fortunately, we played really good defense that kept us in it because they have some guys who can score.”
Skyline also has some players who can score and score they did in the third quarter in which the Eagles outscored the Pioneers 18-4 and cruised to a 58-37 win in an SEC Red Division city-rivalry game at Skyline.
“We kept our defensive intensity in that third quarter but slowed the game down in our head on the offensive end, executed much better and got to the basket a lot more which is something we emphasized,” Lovelace said.
Chris Cayton had a big game for the Eagles. The junior guard scored a game-high 18 points and also had five rebounds. Dinalli DeLoach and Jack Williams (five steals) each scored eight points. And Kabir Bergin hit two triples in the third quarter and finished with six points and eight rebounds.
Rasheed Sampson had a solid game for the Pioneers. The junior forward/center had a team-high eight points and seven rebounds along with three blocks. Aidan Lee, Macail Fly and Koebe Moore (five rebounds) each scored seven. Mac VanRenterghem had four points and three steals.
A triple by Lee gave the visitors a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter. The Eagles cut the deficit to 8-7 with 3:10 left in the quarter when James Harrison went coast to coast and scored on a layup.
Pioneer led 13-10 after the first quarter.
Clayton scored to tie the game at 13-13 and a triple by Williams gave the home team a 16-13 lead. Sampson answered with a nice put-back to cut Skyline’s lead to 18-15 but DeLoach turned an offensive rebound into two points and a 20-15 lead.
Lee had a nice drive to the basket to bring Pioneer to within 22-19 and Conor Easthope scored the last basket of the first half to cut the deficit to 24-22.
Bergin helped get things rolling in that decisive third quarter. He hit two triples to push Skyline’s lead to 34-26. Cayton scored to make it 36-26 with 2:10 left in the quarter. A layup by James Harrison gave the hosts a 40-26 lead and a basket by Cayton with 25 seconds left in the quarter gave the Eagles a 42-26 lead.
A three-pointer by Ashay Arora gave Skyline a 50-32 lead with 3:10 left in the game.
The Eagles play at Monroe on Friday night while the Pioneers play at Saline.