Foreman finished with 29 points to lead the Tribe, but the exceptional defensive play of the Indians was the difference in the game.
“We wanted to make things as hard as we possibly could for (Gate City stars Zac Ervin and Bradley Dean),” D-B head coach Chris Poore said. “They’re exceptional talents that make tough shots game after game and score at an unbelievable and efficient rate. Everything had to earned and we had to get to their legs. We knew they didn’t sub, so they play a lot of minutes and we pushed the pace a lot.
“I thought our guys bought in to make things hard on them.”
Ervin finished with 22 points, but was just 1-for-11 from the 3-point arc and shot nine free throws. He did break his own 2015 Arby’s Classic record for most free throws made (41) in a single tournament during the fourth quarter. Dean finished with 12 and was 0-for-4 on 3-pointers.
The brilliant defensive strategy for the Indians of double-teaming or sometimes triple-teaming both Dean and Ervin off screens worked to perfection for Poore’s squad. It was something that was just installed over the weekend, but the Indians provided a blueprint to slow down the dynamic duo.
Overall, it was one of the most woeful shooting performances for the Blue Devils in three years, shooting just 17-for-50 from the field and 4-for-27 from beyond the arc.
“Their defensive strategy was designed to beat us at that moment in time and we weren’t on top of our game today. I can’t make excuses, though,” Gate City head coach Scott Vermillion said. “Dobyns-Bennett played really well today and they hit shot when they needed to. Once they got the lead and got comfortable, they had the guards to pull us out. … I feared this might happen when we played a good team, but Coach Poore should be really proud of his team.”
The Tribe did not have the ideal start to the game — trailing at the end of the opening quarter 16-10 — but got rolling in the second period and never looked back. By the end of the half, the Tribe had turned a six-point deficit into a nine point lead, even with junior big man Charlie Browder on the bench in foul trouble.
The Blue Devils would not get any closer than 10 points the entire rest of the game as D-B built what got up to a 19-point lead. It was the largest deficit the Devils have faced all season.
“We knew that when we beat Morristown East on Saturday that we would be facing tough competition,” Foreman said. “I had the mindset of going out there to play hard and make the right decisions. … We wanted this one really bad. I’ve been playing against Bradley Dean since I was young and it’s fun to go up against people that you know.”
With today’s and last year’s fifth place showing, the Indians have the highest finish in back-to-back years for local teams since Science Hill finished fourth and third in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Orem, Utah 77, Union, Va. 53
The Golden Tigers team knocked down 12 3-pointers to defeat the Bears in an early-morning game.
Taft Mitchell had a game-high 29 points for Orem and Shem Johnson, who later in the day won the 3-point shooting contest, netted 17.
Freshman point guard Andy Jones led the Bears for the third consecutive game of the tournament, finishing with 19 points.
Noah Garrison chipped in with 13 and Justin Falin netted 11.
Buford (Ga.) 66, Wenonah (Ala.) 59
Wenonah was spotted a 10-point lead to begin the game, but then Marcus Watson came alive for Buford. The senior forward scored 32 points in the win.
After Buford caught up, neither team could gain more than a two-point lead until the Wolves pulled away late in the third-place game.
Cameron Tucker finished with 23 points to lead the fourth-place Dragons and the highest placing for a team from Alabama since Athens placed third in 1989.
Mount Bethel (Ga.) 68, Cardinal Newman (S.C.) 42
Big men Stanley Eze with 24 points and Jordan Meka with 14 led the Eagles over the Cardinals. Mason Venable also contributed with 11.
The Cardinals hit just 12-for-47 from the field. The Eagles have been one of the most potent defensive teams all tournament and held Chico Carter, Jr. to his tournament-low eight points. Tyler Thomas led the Cardinals with 12.