Cardinals take control of region; win 77-69 over Christ Church

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Landrum’s Truston Whiteside goes up for a lay up against Christ Church on Tuesday night. The Cardinals are now 7-0 in region play and are in the driver’s seat to win a region championship with the 77-69 win. (photo by Joey Millwood)

As the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, the Landrum players walked towards their sideline and a head coach who was fired up.
Lyn Smith stepped in the middle of his team – a team that had just allowed Christ Church to come back from eight points down to tie the game at 59-59 – and he gave them a passionate plea.
“I told them that you have to come out and play with heart and determination,” Smith said. “You have eight minutes left on your home court to take control of the region.”
The Cardinals responded.
They came out in the fourth quarter, stepped up their defensive intensity and closed out a 77-69 win over the Cavaliers to take the lead in Region II-A.  The battle of the unbeatens was what Cavaliers coach R. J. Beach expected.
“They’re a very good team,” Beach said. “They’re ranked second in the state for a reason. We knew we were going to be in a battle.”
The Cavaliers did battle. Landrum controlled the entire first half, but the Cavaliers came out of the locker rooms with energy. Led by Brooks Taylor, the Cavaliers fought hard in the third quarter. Taylor scored 19 points in the second half and finished with 25 points.
Cardinals Daniel Bridges and Truston Whiteside answered in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Bridges started the quarter off with a 3-pointer and Whiteside followed with a drive to the basket for 2 points. Bridges finished with 14 points. Whiteside finished with 10 points. Cole McDowell scored 15 points. Mark Wilson led the Cardinals with 17 points.
The Cardinals got a big spark from the bench in the fourth quarter. Aaron Bryant dished the ball to his brother Alex for a 2-point play on the next possession. Bryant also hit a free throw and came up with a huge steal with 57 seconds left on the clock.
“I come off the bench to give my team energy,” the sophomore guard said.
“He was a big difference tonight,” Smith said of Bryant.
In the end, the Cardinals just had too much speed, but Smith got the battle he expected. The Cardinals (14-3, 7-0) are now in the driver’s seat for the region championship as the last unbeaten team.
“It was good win,” Smith said.