Landrum men top Blue Ridge, move to 7-0.

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Landrum was missing the services of Easton Jenkins, their 6-foot-6-inch center who’d just had emergency dental surgery, but the Cardinals did have their sparkplug Trey Smith, their multi-talented Foster Bridges, and a supporting cast that turned back the visiting Blue Ridge Fighting Tigers, 89-72, in varsity basketball action on Monday, Dec. 18.

The Cardinals moved to 7-0 in dispatching yet another team that displayed slick ball-handling skills, but whose scoring fell a bit short, due in major part to Landrum’s unrelenting defense and cohesive teamwork.

Smith poured in 36 points, while Bridges added 26. Sophomore Turner Ussery scored 12, and grabbed a dozen rebounds. Landrum shot 55 percent from the floor.

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Cardinal head coach Lynn Smith noted that his squad played “a little conservatively in the first half,” after which the Cards led 40-36, but added that his players broke loose in the final 16 minutes.

In that first quarter, a 2-2 tie quickly became a 7-2 Landrum lead, capped by Trey Smith’s layup. In the third quarter, the Cardinals took a 53-36 lead, after Smith’s baseline three-pointer, and a driving layup by Ussery. After three periods, Landrum held a 66-51 advantage. In the last quarter, even as Blue Ridge fought back hard, two successive three-pointers by Bridges helped keep Landrum well in front.

“We returned two All-State players,” Coach Smith remarked about Smith and Bridges, “and those two showed why they are All-Staters.”

Lyn Smith added that his players are excited about the season so far.

After a tournament in Florida late this week, the Cardinals return to compete in the 18th annual Battle at the Border Shootout.

Next regular-season game is on Jan. 9, when the Cardinals host Chesnee in Landrum’s first region game of the season.