Cardinal men overtake St. Joseph’s Knights, 45-31

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017



With two St. Joseph's players trying to stop his shooting, Landrum's Turner Ussery (with ball) seems undisturbed.(photo by Mark Schmerling)

With two St. Joseph’s players trying to stop his shooting, Landrum’s Turner Ussery (with ball) seems undisturbed.(photo by Mark Schmerling)

After 16 minutes of play on Tuesday, Jan, 31, St. Joseph’s Catholic held a 23-13 lead over a Landrum men’s basketball team that seemed to hardly resemble the same squad that destroyed Chesnee by 52 points four nights earlier.

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Several theories might explain how the Cardinals came back in the second half to limit the Knights to a total of eight points in 16 minutes, and emerge 45-31 winners at Landrum. Say the Cardinals wanted the victory more.


This evening, the Cardinals visit Christ Church Episcopal, a tough region opponent.


Led by Foster Bridges and Trey Smith and joined by other ignited players, Landrum employed ferocious defense, and re-gained their hot shooting hand. In the final two periods, the Cardinals outscored the Knights, 17-4 and 15-4, respectively.


Mostly, the Cardinals settled down and played their game.


What did head coach Lyn Smith tell his players during the half?


“I told them ‘We’re in good shape,’” adding afterward, “We won that game on defense. To hold that team to eight points in the second half is huge.”


For the second game in a row, the Cardinals face fast-moving opponents who could rifle accurate passes to each other. St. Joseph’s main difficulty was putting the ball through the hoop. Landrum’s defense wasn’t there to help them.


St. Joseph’s entered the fray with a 5-1 region mark, while Landrum was 4-2, one of those losses to the Knights. Now those two are tied for second, behind 7-0 Blacksburg. Overall, the Cardinals were 14-6 before last (Thursday) evening’s game at Polk County. Results from that game were not available at press time.


Fierce defense and cold shooting marked the first quarter, which ended with an 8-4 St. Joseph’s lead. When the Knights outscored Landrum by 15-9 in the second, the Cardinals hardly looked their best.


However, those same players came out with renewed intensity for the next two periods. Bridges hit two of two at the line, to cut the Knights’ lead to 23-17. Trey Smith fired in a three-pointer to cut it to 23-20. Dalton Lawson’s goal made it 23-22, and Smith put the hosts ahead, 24-23, with another goal. After the Knights scored two, the Cardinals responded with another goal by Lawson, and Smith’s two-for-two from the line. Manny Gonzalez hit a two-pointer at the buzzer, to give Landrum a 30-27 lead.


Bridges hit two two-pointers to start the fourth quarter. By then, Landrum had the momentum, the Cardinals steadily increasing their lead.


Aware that the fierce rivalry might result in some kind of incident(s) during or after the game, a few extra police officers watched for possible misbehavior. Instead, the only rowdiness was the normal partisan shouting, cheering and booing from each side of the stands during the game, as fans on both sides reacted to players’ efforts, and officials’ calls.


The Cardinals’ next two games are on the road, as post-season play approaches. After this (Friday) evening’s game at Christ Church Episcopal, the Cardinals will visit Greer Middle College on Feb. 7.


Last game of the regular season is at Landrum on Feb. 9, when the Cardinals host Blacksburg, who edged Landrum in overtime last time the two teams met.