Johnson, Dragons burn Indians

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, January 22, 2015

It’s easy to see why Southampton head coach Sharone Bailey was a man of few words when he was asked about Park View’s Keldon Johnson. The 6-foot-4 freshman guard scored 22 points in the first half of Wednesday’s game, and finished with a game-high 35 to lead the Dragons to a 72-64 win over the Indians.

Southampton’s Jameson Long finds some space to work with in transition. In the losing effort, Long had 13 points.

Southampton’s Jameson Long finds some space to work with in transition. In the losing effort, Long had 13 points. Murray Thompson | The Tidewater News

“We just couldn’t stop him,” Bailey said. “He shot the ball very well from the field.”

The game was tightly contested through one quarter, as the Indians matched Johnson shot-for-shot in the first and led 19-18. However, 22 turnovers doomed the home team thereafter.

“They played man-to-man and gave us problems,” Bailey said. “We’re going to have to work on handling the ball and protecting the ball a little better.”

Down 11 to begin the second half, Bailey had sophomore Darius Bell shadow Johnson in hopes that he would slow the Park View star.

“We put Darius on him and he did a great job of containing him; kind of slowed him down.” he said. “Every time we surged, though, they stopped it.”

The Indians were able to cut the deficit to only five late in the contest, but with all of their effort placed on the defensive end, the team couldn’t put the ball in the bucket in the waning minutes.

“We had a couple of turnovers at key situations that made us lose the game,” Bailey said.

Bell would be held scoreless, as well, in the fourth quarter, contributing to the defeat.

“He’s very unselfish,” Bailey said. “He needs to be a little more selfish.”

Even so, the second-year head coach said he’s proud of the way his team has responded to the adversity of a seven-game losing streak earlier this month.

“I think it’s coming back together. We played real hard tonight and I’m proud of the guys,” he said. “We lost, but I see us getting better every game.”

The loss snaps Southampton’s brief two-game winning streak, and the Indians drop to 6-10 on the season. The team begins a four-game road trip on Friday night in Petersburg against Appomattox Regional Governor’s School.

Murray Thompson contributed to this report.