Dolphins Defeat Lakers in OT

Jenny Scarborough

Thursdays game was "a coming out party for Evin Caswell" said Coach David Allewalt.

Freshman Caswell led all scorers with 19 points, including a devastating overtime three, with 1:16 left on the clock, from which the Mattamuskeet Lakers never recovered. The Dolphins followed that possession with a beautiful assist from Adam Carter to Caswell, who calmly sank the contested layup, making the score 65-59. More proof that the future of Dolphin basketball is bright? Caswell was perfect from the free throw line. Need more? In the second half, as the Lakers mounted a serious threat, Caswell levitated over several opponents to snatch a clean rebound, and the ball left his hands to score two before he'd begun his descent to join us mortals on earth.

Walker Garrish made 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter and extra minutes, and the final was Dolphins 68, Lakers 59. Yesterday the teams matched up in Laker territory, with the Dolphins losing 51-38. That was before Allewalt put on his lucky argyle sweater vest, which now has a 5-0 record.

"It was a total team effort," said Allewalt. He praised the tenacious defensive play of guards Wyatt Norris and Casey Tolson, the composure of point guard Adam Carter in the final minutes, big boards grabbed by center Andrew Tillett, and the way Walker Garrish took over the game in the third quarter, when the rest of the Dolphins were having a hard time finding the basket.

Tolson came out of the locker room with guns blazing, hitting a three on the first Dolphin possession of the evening, and dropping in a second three to open up a 10-4 Dolphin lead. The young men gorgeously passed the ball around the floor, keeping the defense scrambling. Carter and Caswell were confident from behind the arc, too, and the team enjoyed a 31- 19 lead at the half.

The largest lead of the night came early in the third quarter, after back to back buckets by Garrish and Tillett made it 35-19.

Laker point guard Shane Cuthrell led the charge to bring his team back into the game, slashing into the lane, gliding around the defense to score with finger rolls, scoop shots, head fakes, and pure grace. Cuthrell demonstrated that, one on one, he could easily beat any other player on the floor.

Cole Clark added back to back threes for Mattamuskeet, to get within six, 39-33. Ocracoke fought to hang on to the lead with a Carter three on the assist from Norris. Tyius Watson cut it to four with after sinking a shot that also got him to the free throw line. The Dolphins struggled against full court pressure from the Lakers, and Clark nailed a jumper with 18.6 seconds left to tie the game 56-56.

The home team then had a chance to end it all, with Andrew Tillett in good position under the basket holding the ball in his strong hands. There was contact on the shot, and a dubious no call from the refs sent it into overtime, which the Dolphins attacked with more ferocity than the Lakers, who were playing their third game in three days.

Dolphin players reported feeling both "awesome" and "beyond tired" after the game.

The undefeated Lady Dolphins cruised to victory against county rivals Mattamuskeet both nights, winning on Wednesday 57-28 and 50-23 on Thursday.

Diana Perez is a threat from both long range and when she drives to the hole, not bad qualities in a point guard. She scored 14 in the first half, and had 21 for the night. She pushed the ball quickly up the floor all night, and continues to out hustle everyone else, particularly when running the floor.

Lucy O'Neal matched up well with Laker star Albany Grays. O'Neal fought for inside position and scored on several nice feeds from Katie O'Neal. She ended the game with 9 points. The Dolphins doubled up on the Lakers 16-8 after the first eight minutes, and led 32-16 at the half.

Like Lucy O'Neal, Grays is a both formidable presence in the lane, and an inside player who comfortably handles the ball. She blocked and changed many Dolphin shots, and was the Laker high scorer with 14.

Both Katie O'Neal and Alin Tellez pestered the Laker guards, ensuring the Dolphins had the ball in their court more often than the visitors. On offense, both drove confidently, attracting double teams and allowing them to find the open player. Tellez scored with a tidy move down the middle, a jump stop, and a sweet arcing floater.

The Lakers were quickly worn down by the stronger, deeper Dolphin team. Point guard Quantiasea Gibbs would score more as a shooting guard, but is the Lakers only reliable ball handler. She added 7 for her team.

Alma Flores and Josie Winstead can box out with the best of them. Both scored 4 points by grabbing offensive rebounds and going straight back up with the ball.

The Dolphin teams will have a day to rest before meeting Hatteras again, at home, on Saturday, February 9. The girls play at 11 a.m., and the boys play at 2 p.m. The delay between the two games will allow islanders to honor the life of Mickey O'Neal.

Basketball fans can cheer the middle school teams on Friday, at home against Mattamuskeet. Athletic competition begins shortly after 4 p.m. and Mexican food will be sold to raise funds. At Saturday's games, a bake sale will support the high school prom.




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