It was an exciting first half between Team Core and Saints of the Bottle, but the second period wouldn’t follow suit. Things got out of hand and the team with more scorers and more legs would run away with it, Core got another win on the season by the tune of 110-88. Cliff continued his torrid scoring stretch with a 42 point effort. He and Chris Howard (29 points) would combine for 71 points in the win, it was their defense that mad the difference though. As for the Saints, they were missing a few players and played the game with just five and no bench, it showed late in the contest. Still, Corey Allmond would tally 32 points to lead their team.
Core got out to a very quick start, going up 17-7. With their length and deep bench it was clear that their goal was to let anybody on the Saints beat them whose name wasn’t Corey. The Saints commitment to defense wasn’t strong and Core exploited it, with veteran guards in Howard and Rob Lowery (11 points), things looked too easy. Rarely did Core force the issue on the offensive end or take an ill-advised shot, those two floor generals played a huge role in that.
Allmond tried to shoulder the scoring load for his team, but it was clear that he needed help. Especially with Core throwing quick traps at him to get the ball out of his hands. That’s when Devante (21 points) stepped out of his facilitating role and became a bit more attack minded. His team certainly needed it, his production lessened some of the pressure on Corey and than he was able to go to work.
The Saints found themselves down 20 as the quarter was coming to a close, Corey initiated a furious rally that cut the deficit to just nine points. He also got a bit of help during the rally from Devante. The highlight of the rally and arguably of the half was Corey getting the ball on the wing. He had his defender on his right hip, he used a half spin and the defender dropped. Allmond than calmly pivoted and hit a Dirk (one-legged fall-away) on the baseline. Cliff would get fouled, hit both free throws and push the lead back to 11. Allmond would get a decent look as the half ended, but he was off.
Then things got fuzzy, the energy used for that rally at the end of the first half may have caused the Saints downfall. They had a couple of bad offensive possessions to start the second half and they paid for it dearly. Core was back to trapping and getting stops, before you knew it they had a 60-46 lead. Diamond had 23 points for the Saints, but he left points on the floor as he was one of the players that Core didn’t really apply defensive pressure to. The big man may have fell in love with the jumper as he definitely settled on a few occasions.
Both teams were trading baskets, the game was getting pushed to another tempo. Then Core hit a couple of triples and it was 79-61, Howard and Trey (18 points) hit a couple of wide open threes in the halfcourt and transition opportunities. Again, Corey and company would make a run. Devante’s three pointer cut the lead to 13 and that is as close as the Saints would get for the remainder of the game. The Saints tired legs started to show, while Core just kept pushing the pace all they way to the final margin of victory