“All streaks have to come to an end,” Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft said.
Olympic’s did on Tuesday night.
Ardrey Kell boys’ basketball upset Sweet 16 No. 1 Olympic 73-54 in SoMeck 8 play at Ardrey Kell High.
The game ended Olympic’s 37-game win streak, dating back to last season. No. 10 Ardrey Kell also gave the defending 4A state champion Trojans their first road loss in four seasons. And the Knights also broke Olympic’s 60-game regular season conference win streak.
“They beat us in every facet of the game,” Olympic coach Ty Baumgardner said. “I don’t know any other way to put it. They were just a better team tonight.”
Craft downplayed the win, but said he was proud of the way his team executed the game plan.
“It’s obviously a big win, but it’s a big win because it was the next game on our schedule, it was a conference game,” Craft said. “We know they lost a lot of players from the state championship team, and for them to be able to come into the season and win seven straight says a lot about (Baumgardner’s) program. ...
“You know, they’ve got a great program. They’ve had a great run. You don’t go 30-0 and win the state championship without knowing what you’re doing.”
Ardrey Kell (7-1, 2-0) was led by five players scoring in double digits: Devin Cooper (16), Josh Freund (14), Steven Santa Ana (12), Rhyle Scott (11) and Markel Pollard (10).
Craft credited Pollard and Freund for winning the rebounding contest and called Scott, who scored nine of his points in the first half, a spark off the bench.
The key for the Knights was their ability to break the full-court press of Olympic (6-1, 1-1), especially in the second half.
“You have to praise Devin Cooper and Seth Davis, our point guards, because you know they handled the pressure really well and they never really ... gave into the pressure,” Craft said.
The Knights led by as much as eight in the first half and took a 29-24 point lead into halftime.
Olympic pulled within two points several times early in the third quarter, led by CJ Jackson, who scored 13 points in the period and finished with a game-high 27.
Ardrey Kell answered with an 11-1 run in the middle of the third quarter and led 50-42 heading into the fourth.
Ardrey Kell put the game away by outscoring Olympic 23-12 in the fourth quarter. The Knights started the period with a 14-2 run that featured several easy layups in transition.
“I think a lot of things had to come together for us to do that,” Craft said. “We handled their pressure. We made layups in the second half. ... We seemed to break their pressure and get layups and capitalize on that, and that was a big part of the game.”
Baumgardner, whose team returned just one starter from last year’s state championship, said he plans to watch the game tape and use the loss as a learning opportunity.
“You never want to lose,” Baumgardner said. “I broke out an old quote. I don’t remember who said it, but, ‘You either win or you learn.’ And, so, hopefully, we’ll learn a lot from this game tonight. And I know we will.”
The two teams will see each other again in less than two weeks during the Wild Wing Cafe High School Hoops Classic at Ardrey Kell.
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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