Game Outlook: West Brunswick jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Monday night against archrival South Brunswick as they rolled to a 70-34 triumph. West led by nine at the end of the first quarter despite seven turnovers. Simmons controlled the paint from the opening tip, pulling down rebounds and altering several Cougar shots, including a dunk attempt by a South guard that was rejected by Simmons much to the dismay of the packed gym in Southport. The Trojans controlled the tempo of the game with wonderful pressure defense resulting in easy transition points for West Brunswick.
The crowd was expecting a show from the 6'9" North Carolina State signee and received a brief glimpse of Simmons athleticism midway through the second quarter. After wingman Chris Bland intercepted a Cougar pass at half-court, Cedric trailed Bland and received a pass off the backboard and dunked it emphatically, only to be waved off by a very questionable pushing call. The jam still sent the crowd into a frenzy and the referees were 'booed' for waving off the phenomenal play.
West went on a 16-0 spurt to open the second half and propel the Trojans to a 43-18 lead with only two minutes left remaining in the third period. The defensive pressure that the Trojans put on South was stellar, forcing many turnovers and easy points for the Trojan guards.
Chris Bland led all scorers with 20 points and benfits greatly from all of the attention Simmons receives on the low block.
"Cedric is such a presence inside, it leaves me wide open half of the time. They had two or three guys chasing him around the whole game and we made the most of that," said Bland.
Simmons' Evaluation: Being double and triple-teamed the entire game, Simmons had a very difficult time establishing a rhythm offensively which caused him to force shots that he normally wouldn't take. South Brunswick did a good job double-teaming Cedric but this left the Trojan guards wide open most of the game to make simple jumpshots and layups.
Cedric's presence in the lane is an intregal part of the Trojans half-court offense. Simmons was effective in the fast-tempo style of play the Trojans ran throughout the game. He would easily get rebounds over the smaller Cougar players and make outlet passes to guards that were ready to push it up court. Ced also runs the court very well to be a bigger guy.
One aspect of his game that is definitely struggling is his free throw shooting, making 2-7 tonight after only converting 1-6 in Saturday's contest against Cardinal Gibbons. Cedric has very strong work ethic and will continue to work on this problem as time progresses.
On the defensive end, Simmons blocked three shots and also collected three steals in a game where South could not establish a post presence due to the lanky senior standing in the lane ready to block all shots in the inside. On a couple of occasions, a South guard would drive the lane and look as if he were going to take the shot, only to pass it back out because of the future Wolfpacker in his way.
Overall, Cedric had 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks. He was 2-7 from the foul line and 0-1 from beyond the three-point line. If West Brunswick continues to play hard-nose defense and feed off of Ced's presence on the offensive end of the court, they could make some noise in the Mideastern 3A/4A conference.
One intangible that Simmons possesses that will appease to most Wolfpack fans is his leadership on and off the court. He is the type of player that truly leads by example more than anything else. N.C. State signed a top prospect and Cedric will become a significant contributor to the Wolfpack basketball program for the next few years.
Special Note: West Brunswick will travel to North Myrtle Beach High School on Thursday for another out of conference matchup and host county rival South Brunswick for the second time in one week on Friday night in Shallotte.
Reports will be posted on the home game vs. South Brunswick along with stats from North Myrtle Beach.