Sto-Rox scores 20 consecutive 2nd-half points in section win over Carlynton

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021 | 11:08 PM


The halftime clock had almost reached zeroes before Sto-Rox emerged from the boys basketball locker room. Coach Dwight Hines later laughed at the suggestion he was in there delivering the best motivational speech of his life.

Something sure got his Vikings fired up.

Sto-Rox scored the first 20 points after halftime Tuesday night, a second-half run that gave the Vikings the lead for good in a key 68-53 victory over Carlynton. Corey Simmons had a game-high 27 points and two teammates scored in double figures as Sto-Rox (5-4, 5-1) took over first place in Section 2-2A.

Josh Jenkins added 15 points and Jaymar Pearson had 10.

“We’re a good second-half team,” Simmons said. “A real good second-half team.”

The 6-foot-1 junior made certain that was true. He scored 19 points after halftime and went 13 for 14 from the foul line in the second half. His breakaway layup early in the third gave the Vikings a 29-28 lead they never lost.

“We had no momentum,” Simmons said. “I knew I had to come out and help my team out. Take over and drop some points for us.”

Carlynton led 28-24 at halftime after Austin Milliner beat the first-half buzzer with a jumper. Millner, a 5-11 sophomore, led Carlynton (7-2, 4-1) with 20 points.

Sto-Rox trailed but its big worry was foul trouble. Three starters had at least two first-half fouls, so Hines resorted to using zone defense in the third quarter.

That was a move made out of necessity but it caused Carlynton immediate trouble. The Cougars committed six turnovers, missed three shots from the field and two free throws in the first six minutes after halftime.

“We’d been playing against a man-to-man the whole first half and I think that changed the dynamics,” Carlynton coach Mike Kozy said. “You can’t turn the ball over. If you turn the ball over, they’re going to go on a 20-0 run.”

“It was definitely a different look for us,” Hines said. “We’ve tried it here and there. … It may be added to the repertoire.”

Sto-Rox’s 20-point run started with a 3-pointer by Jenkins on the first possession after halftime. The Vikings’ lead peaked at 44-28 on a layup by Jenkins near the 2-minute mark.

In between, Simmons and Pearson had two layups each, Marcus Thomas added another and Dre’von Miller-Ross banked in a 3-pointer that energized the small home crowd.

“I always tell these guys, don’t look at the scoreboard,” said Hines, who wasn’t counting the run in real time. “Play the way you play and the outcome will be the outcome.”

Sto-Rox had six layups in the 20-point run, three immediately after steals.

“That was a big emphasis coming in,” Kozy said. “If you give them those run-outs, you’re giving them easy points.”

Carlynton entered the fourth trailing by 15 points.

The Cougars put the run behind them and cut the deficit to 48-41 when Milliner and Khalil Kerr scored on consecutive layups that both drew fouls. But Carlynton couldn’t get any closer.

Simmons kept Sto-Rox ahead by going 12 for 12 from the foul line in the fourth.

“He’s been on a roll four of five games in a row,” Hines said. “He’s been pretty much consistent. He’s just a confident guy. That’s what we expect out of him.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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