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Stags deny Dutch Fork, 60-48, to win Berkeley Holiday Classic title

MONCKS CORNER—The third time was the charm for the Berkeley boys’ basketball team.  After finishing runner-up in its tournament in 2015 and third place last year, the Stags held off a pesky Dutch Fork squad, 60-48, to claim the Berkeley Holiday Classic championship.

“It’s definitely a morale booster.  I’m very proud of the guys,” said Berkeley head coach Joseph Wallace.  “Dutch Fork is a very good 5A team that is well-coached.  It was good to be able to compete with them and come out victorious.  I told our guys to protect our house by any means necessary and we really buckled down and played good defense.  That was the difference in the game.”

Ephraim Butler scored 26 points for the Stags to earn tournament MVP honors while Ishawn White recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“I’m a senior and I’ve been playing for four years,” said Butler.  “My role on the team is to take over when I need to, and that’s what I did.”

Trailing 41-35 to begin the fourth quarter, Dutch Fork got a basket from Jobo Eleazer and a three-pointer by Jaedon Williams to cut the deficit to one point, forcing Berkeley to call a timeout.

The Stags went to Butler for a set play on the ensuing possession and it paid off.  Butler pulled the trigger from beyond the arc and was fouled by the defender as the ball went into the net.  He added the free throw to complete the four-point play and once again gave Berkeley some breathing room.

“The play is called ‘Ice’ and it’s something we put in,” said Wallace.  “He came off the screen, caught it, squared up and knocked it down.  That’s one of the ones you draw up that actually worked.  I was very pleased with that.”

The Silver Foxes got within 47-44 after Jalin Hyatt went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe, but Butler knocked down another triple to push the advantage to six points.  Berkeley then converted all six of its free throws in the final 90 seconds to seal the win.  The Stags were 16-of-19 at the foul line for the game.

“I’m not sure how many other teams practice free throws as much as we do in practice.  The last couple of games we haven’t shot free throws well, so I was very happy the guys stepped up when it counted.  That helped extend the lead,” Wallace said.

Dutch Fork (5-8) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after a pair of buckets by Hyatt, who scored a team-high 13 points.  However, Berkeley responded with an 11-2 run, punctuated by White’s slam dunk.

After a back and forth second quarter, Hyatt drilled a three-pointer late in the frame to get the Silver Foxes within a point at 19-18, but Blake Southard answered on the other end with a shot from downtown to send the Stags to the locker room with a four-point lead.

Berkeley (8-2) was close to pulling away as the third quarter wound down, with DeAndre Bryan’s layup making it 40-29.  But Dutch Fork outscored the Stags, 6-1, in the last 1:07, with Bryce Thompson draining a 25-footer as time expired.  Thompson finished with 10 points.



Dutch Fork            9              9              17           13—48

Berkeley                11           11           19           19—60

Dutch Fork (48): Jalin Hyatt 13, Bryce Thompson 10, Eaddy 8, Williams 8, Gilliard 4, Eleazer 4, Stewart 1.

Berkeley (60): Ephraim Butler 26, Ishawn White 14, Smalls 9, Chisolm 5, Southard 3, Bryan 2, McCay 1.

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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