Hot start fuels Predators in win
The Fox Creek boys’ basketball team was missing its most prolific scorer in Friday’s game against Blackville-Hilda, but that would’ve been hard to tell from the way the team started the night in a 60-41 victory.
The Predators (12-4, 5-0 Region 4-A) started the night on a 19-0 run against the Hawks (7-6, 3-2) despite being without Marques Sumner, who was out as a minor disciplinary measure. Head coach Andrew Peckham said the opening run was exactly what he’s been looking for out of his team.
“I was extremely pleased to come out that way,” he said. “We have yet to start games very well.”
The hot start was as much a result of defense as it was offense. An early press yielded turnovers and points, as the Hawks struggled to even get into a half-court set and put up good shots.
Junior guard Brandyn Quiller, another of the team’s usual leading scorers, said the Predators knew they would need extra focus without Sumner.
“We came out with intensity, and we were ready to play,” he said.
The Predators won the first quarter 26-3, sparked by nine points each from Corrin Cannon and Caleb Veihman in the frame. Cannon did a majority of his work from the free-throw line throughout the night, finishing with 17 points and a 11-for-12 effort from the line. Veihman, meanwhile, found openings in the defense to receive passes and get a good shot off from the floor, and he scored 13 points in the win.
“Caleb actually brought out the most intensity in the game,” Quiller said.
The second quarter was much more even, with the Hawks picking up some momentum on a thunderous dunk by Montrel Isaac. The long post player led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points, but they were never able to overcome the early deficit.
That was thanks, in part, to the consistent effort of Quiller. He created havoc defensively from end to end, which led to scoring opportunities for the home team, and he also led the Predators in scoring with 18 points.
“Quiller’s one of our team captains, and I told him before the game I needed him to show up both offensively and defensively,” Peckham said.
The junior guard said he just took the chances that were available.
“I just kept putting up shots, hoping that I’d make them,” said Quiller, who was 8-for-13 (. 615) from the floor and 2-for-3 (. 667) from beyond the 3-point line.
Blackville-Hilda actually won each of the third and fourth quarters, holding a 27-21 advantage after halftime, but a pair of key jumpers by Cannon in the third quarter stifled any momentum for the visitors. Peckham also used his bench generously in the second half.
In addition to the double-digit performances by Cannon, Quiller and Veihman, the Predators also got eight points from Ikel El and consistent ball movement throughout the night.
“I think it was a very good team effort, a lot of unselfish play,” Peckham said.
Fox Creek will be back in action on Tuesday when it hosts region foe Williston-Elko.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.