Lowndes guard Sam Shoptaw (15) shoots a 3-pointer in the third quarter against Flagler Palm Coast Monday, Nov. 21.

WILLISTON, Fla. – There’s a saying, “Live by the three, die by the three,” and in Saturday afternoon’s tournament game the Gainesville Hurricanes (2-0) were alive and well from beyond the arc.

In their 67-57 victory over the Lowndes Vikings (4-2), now losers of two straight, they shot an absurd 10 for 13 from three, something the Vikings just couldn’t overcome.

Lowndes jumped out to an early 9-0 lead behind a Demarcus Black three and athletic block turned transition dunk, forcing a Gainesville timeout.

Out of the timeout Gainesville went to Appalachian State commit Joshua Hayes, who backed down senior Landon New with relative ease for two.

Gainesville followed that up with an 11-2 run, fueled by lots of ball movement and the start of the 3pt onslaught that wouldn’t let up for the rest of the game.

Lowndes did a solid job defensively on individual matchups, but when help was required Gainesville took advantage of it swiftly, many of the 3pt attempts they got were open because of late or non-existent closeouts.

“You can’t let them get them wide open, they had a couple wide open down the stretch where we just really didn’t challenge,” Lowndes head coach Reshon Benjamin said. “What makes it difficult is [Joshua Hayes], you gotta help on him and you have to close out on the shooters. We just try to make sure that every shot they shoot is contested and not wide open…I felt like we fell hard, but we’re learning, there’s a lot to learn from this.”

Lowndes trailed 23-20 going into the second quarter, and the offense didn’t come any easier.

In the first five minutes of the quarter Lowndes only scored 4 points, and a big reason for that is Black sitting. With teams doubling Samuel Shoptaw very early in games now, his game hasn’t come easily early in the season and the offense is heavily reliant on Black’s production.

“I’m trying to teach [Shoptaw] how to get rid of it sooner, as opposed to holding on to it so long when those double teams come then it turns into turnovers,” Benjamin said. “He’s a great player, he’s going to go back to work, he’ll be back in the gym probably tomorrow morning 6 a.m. that’s what he does…He’s still our leader no matter what, I think he’ll bounce back next game.”

After going down 44-32 at the half Lowndes brought themselves within striking distance in the third quarter, behind a good quarter from Shoptaw.

He had eight of his 13 total points in the quarter, despite still being forced off-ball. He used screens to get open on the perimeter and when he did get some on-ball possessions he made aggressive and decisive decisions to get to his spots.

Despite this, Gainesville kept Lowndes at an arm’s length. The 3-point onslaught slowed down a bit in the second half, but it was replaced by transition heavy offense.

Lowndes didn’t come closer than 48-42 with 5 minutes remaining in the third, as every time they scored the Gainesville press forced a turnover.

Black finished with 18 points, Shoptaw with 13 and junior guard Keyshawn Arthur finished with 14 points on 83% from the field, a key contributor from the perimeter.


Lowndes faces Thomasville at home Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you