Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

December 16, 2012

Celtics roll past Green Wave to take boys’ title in Narrows

NARROWS, Va. — Roanoke Catholic raised its intensity level. Narrows never did.

Ross Clark scored 21 points and Ethan Tait added 18, as the Celtics rolled past the Green Wave 66-40 in the Narrows Athletic Fund Christmas Classic championship game on Saturday evening at Narrows High School.

Roanoke Catholic (5-4) has become a regular at the Narrows pre-Christmas event, and they certainly enjoyed this trip to Giles County.

“We are much grateful to the folks at Narrows for inviting us back,” said Roanoke Catholic head coach and Bluefield native Leon Caldwell. “We got our butts kicked last year, but we are still really young, we don’t have a senior.

“I am very pleased with the way we played and I am grateful for the people of Narrows for allowing us to come.”

Narrows (3-4) played perhaps its best game of the season in a 52-49 semifinal win over James Monroe, but didn’t bring the same intensity to this one.

“It is like night and day, the difference between our guys last night and tonight,” Narrows head coach Chris Gautier said. “The intensity just wasn’t there from the start, it is almost like we were just going through the motions and kind of playing for second place.

“That is not what I expected out of those guys. We just didn’t respond when we needed to, we started playing better in the second half, but the first half was just really put a damper on things.”

Narrows scored the first bucket of the game on a layup by Chandler Burton, but wouldn’t get another field goal until an Austin Lively layup to open the second quarter. By then the Celtics were up 14-3, and continued to pour it on, taking a 36-13 lead into the break.

“Our defense has been our staple during the year, we have just really been a defensive intensity team, but they got where they wanted to go, they penetrated on us,” Gautier said. “I told them the key to the game tonight was going to be offensive rebounds.

“I watched this team against Giles the night before and I bet they had 25 or 30 offensive rebounds and they probably doubled it on us.”

Tait, who was selected as the tourney most valuable player, had four of the Celtics’ six 3s. Clark was 10-of-13 from the free throw line, while Josh Carpenter, who was placed on the all-tourney team, also reached double figures with 12.

Roanoke Catholic was 24-35 from the charity stripe, while the Green Wave was 5-17.  The Celtics advanced to the finals with a 54-50 win over Giles on Friday.

“We have been emphasizing to them that if they play at an intensity level where they had to meet our intensity instead of us having to meet their intensity that even as young as we are we were fully capable of playing with anybody,” Caldwell said. “They did exactly what we asked them to do.

“They just did a fabulous job, we hit the boards well, we shot well.”

Gavin Givens led Narrows with 11 points, while Burton struggled to connect and finished with 10. Rodney Perdue, who was selected to the all-tourney squad, scored seven points and Austin Lively added six before leaving with an injury.

“(Chandler) is due a night, I feel bad, he is getting shots off, it is just not clicking right now,” Gautier said. “He can’t buy a bucket, but we have got to try to get him to the rim a little bit more and make things easier and hopefully those shots will start falling.

“As a team we really haven’t had a good shooting night this season...”

Narrows will have to regroup before a visit to Rural Retreat on Wednesday, followed by Mountain Empire District play in January.

“We just didn’t execute tonight, we just had a bad game, to follow it up from last night is just night and day and a hard one to swallow,” Gautier said. “I thought was a real good opportunity to go out and win that tournament. We knew coming in what they were going to do and ways to stop it and we just didn’t execute.”

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