There haven’t been many instances in the Cuthbertson boys basketball team’s recent run of success when the Cavs have found themselves trailing at halftime, but that’s exactly what they faced on
Tuesday, Dec. 11 against upstart Marvin Ridge.
The Mavs held a 38-31 lead over Cuthbertson at the intermission, but that advantage didn’t last long. Cuthbertson erased the deficit after roughly three minutes of time elapsed in the third quarter. The Mavs battled, however, and the game was tied entering Cuthbertson’s final possession before Shelton Mitchell was able to put in a left-handed floater for the 66-64 Cavs win as the buzzer sounded.
“That felt good because it was a rival,” Mitchell said of the win over Marvin Ridge. “We came to their place and fought through adversity.”
Added Mitchell’s Cuthbertson teammate Jorden Hardrick: “That was definitely a game we had to grind out.”
It was the Cavs’ first win of the 2012-13 season to come by fewer than 15 points. It came on the heels of a 113-40 clobbering of North Stanly the night before.
“I was pleased we were in a tight game because we need to learn how to play because we haven’t had any (close games), really,” said Cavs coach Mike Helms. “As you get deeper in the season, these are the kind of games you’re going to have, so it’s good to get into live action to see how the kids are going to react.”
Mitchell, a highly recruited point guard who averages 20.7 points on the season, was held to 16 points in the win over Marvin Ridge. Meanwhile, Isiah Cureton poured in 21 for the Cavs.
Helms said he hasn’t been concerned with his team’s ability to win games when Mitchell has a (relatively) off night, especially with nine players
averaging at least three points per game and seven who average a minimum of 5.3.
“Every night it’s a different kid (scoring) in double figures, which I think makes us good and it makes us tough to scout because you don’t really know (who’s gong to score),” Helms said.
That list has gotten a little deeper this season with the addition of Justin Austin, a 6-foot-3 guard transfer from Georgia.
“The thing I love about Justin is he has a high motor,” said Helms. “When he makes mistakes, he makes aggressive mistakes. He plays aggressively, and I love that about him. I think as he gets more comfortable with what we’re doing, he’s just going to blossom and get better as the year goes on.”
Austin, a senior, said it took some time to gel with the team and adjust to his new setting.
“But now I’m starting to play good and find my niche at the school,” said Austin, who is averaging 8.4 points, five rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.
The Cavs face Weddington on Friday, Dec. 14 before travelling to Raleigh for the HSOT Invitational Dec. 27-29, where they will face several high-level teams. Hardrick said staying focused, while not the easiest thing for a team with state-title aspirations, has to be the team’s goal.
“We’re just trying to stay grounded and work hard every day in practice, and that’s pretty much it,” Hardrick said.