Charlotte Latin wasn’t about to look past Charlotte Country Day.
The Hawks set themselves up for a big game Friday against CISAA leader Providence Day by taking care of visiting Country Day 61-42 Tuesday. The win left Latin (16-6, 3-2) with sole possession of second place and a jolt of confidence.
“That was our goal,” Hawks coach Chris Berger said. “We lost a close one to Charlotte Christian a couple of weeks ago, but our goal was to take one game at a time and chip back into it (to) put a little pressure on Providence Day.”
Latin made its statement with defense, giving up no more than 12 points in a quarter to Country Day (11-14, 2-3) by contesting nearly everything the Buccaneers shot.
“They’re very physical, they play the game right and we had to meet their physicality,” Berger said. “They’ve got some strong guys down there, but I’m thrilled with the way our defense is coming together, mixing it up in our zone and our man.
“Giving up 42 points to a team like that is definitely a reward for us because we know they can score 70 or 80 any night.”
The Hawks, conversely, attacked the basket with three players hitting double figures. Senior forward Rusty Reigel, a Davidson recruit, pumped in 21 points, reserve guard Caleb Jordan added 11 and center Parker Julian had 10.
Latin pulled away during the second half behind Reigel and Jordan, who scored 14 and nine points respectively after the break when the Hawks focused on getting into the paint.
“We were relying a little too much on that 3-point line,” Berger said. “I really wanted to attack the rim and create our own shots and make them work in their zone.”
Michael White led Country Day with 14 points and Michael Shields added 11, but the Bucs struggled to keep pace with Latin, which seized a 26-18 advantage at the break.
“They were ready to play,” Country Day coach Dwayne Cherry said. “You could tell they were focused. They hit us in the mouth at the beginning and we never responded.”
Latin led from the opening tap, exploiting its consistency in the paint for a 14-10 advantage after eight minutes. The Hawks went ahead by 10 during the second quarter while Country Day had issues finishing plays around the basket.
“I don’t know if we weren’t ready for the moment,” Cherry said, “but we just didn’t respond.”
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