"Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you're gonna get" - Forrest Gump
That famous movie line could have just as easily been last night's game between Detroit Country Day and Saginaw Arthur Hill. For the first three quarters, the Yellowjackets dominated. Junior Omar Thomas and senior Mark Coury had there way with Arthur Hill in the paint, scoring at will .The lone Lumberjack that was playing well at that point was the coach’s son, Greg McMath Jr. He entered the lineup and helped step up the energy and defensive intensity on the floor.
The visitor remained fairly close at the end of one, down 22-16, but Country Day blew the game open in the second quarter. Alex Legion got involved with the scoring, but Thomas and Coury did most of the work inside. The home team stretched what was a six point margin to 17 (49-32) heading into the half.
The first half was a little disappointing to the members of the crowd that came to see two of the top sophomores in the country square off. Alex Legion and Darquavis Tucker are the number one and two rated players in the in-state class of 2007 at this point. Dar spent most of the time prior to intermission in foul trouble, although he did deliver some rim rattling dunks. (I am going to go out on a ledge here and say Dar Tucker is the best dunker in the state!) Legion played okay, but it took him some time to get going.
The third quarter began and the game looked much like it did in the first half. Legion started to heat up and Country Day continued to have its way with Arthur Hill. To compound Arthur Hill's dilemma, Thomas and Coury continued to control the paint. Finally, at the two minute mark of the third quarter Dar Tucker was subbed out of the game. Normally that is not a big deal, but as he went to the bench, Coach Greg McMath gave him the business! “I got on him because he was laid back out there," McMath explained. "I didn’t like the effort he was putting forth."
The game appeared to be over heading into the fourth quarter, as the Yellow Jackets had moved their lead out to 63-45 lead. Coach McMath opened the final stanza with a lineup that was a little puzzling to many of the onlookers. The unit he put on the floor was very small, which seemed to be a recipe for an even larger blowout based on how Thomas and Coury were playing down low. However, he had a very good reason for switching things up. “We came off the bench with our energy guys," McMath said. "Greg [Jr.] came in and stepped up defensively and the other guys picked up the tempo. We just played our style of ball”. The result of that move probably went better than he anticipated.
In a matter of minutes Saginaw Arthur Hill went on a 15-0 run to cut the lead to three, 63-60. That charge was led by juniors by McMath Jr. and Craig Meredith. They were all over the floor. Coach McMath said about Craig Meredith, “He is a defensive back in football so he gave us a lot of toughness, defense, and easy buckets out there tonight.”
Country Day Coach Kurt Keener called timeouts during this run to try to slow the visitors down, but the snowball just keep picking up speed. Arthur Hill made the Yellowjackets play faster than they wanted to, causing them to go away from what was successful, which was their low post game.
Omar Thomas finally ended the scoreless streak for them home team with a free throw at the 4:42 mark to make the score 64-60. However, it was not enough to stem the tied. The Lumberjacks scored the next six points, taking their first lead on a bucket from Dar Tucker to make it 66-64. The next time down the court, the Yellowjackets' star player went to work. Alex Legion drew a foul and went to the line where he calmly sank two free throws to tie it up. Moments later Omar Thomas stole the inbounds pass and scored on a lay-to put Country Day back out front, 68-66. From there, the home team would not relinquish the lead again. The Yellowjackets used the free throw line to hold off their tenacious opponents and pull the game out, 74-73.
Omar Thomas led Country Day with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Alex Legion chipped in with 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two blocks, while Mark Coury added 12 points and six rebounds. Arthur Hill's Dar Tucker led all scorers with 27 points and 5 rebounds.
It was a terrific display by both teams, both of which we look forward to seeing again in the very near future. Look for more comments from both Tucker and Legion later in the week.