SHEPHERDSTOWN — Physical and deep were the Warriors from East Stroudsburg, the 2012 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champions.
Using a game-long, full court man-to-man press to keep Shepherd from finding any sort of comfort zone, the impressive Warriors showed an overall physical strength to gain a telling 14 rebound advantage and to score 21 of the game’s last 28 points to pull away to a 97-79 win over cold-shooting Shepherd.
Shepherd was miserable from long-range, making only 3-of-22 three-point attempts. And the Rams could never find adequate defensive match-ups inside where the muscular Terrance King scored 28 points and claimed 10 rebounds and quick-off-the-floor Duane Johnson had 21 points and eight rebounds.
East Stroudsburg had an 8-2 lead in the first 1:34 of play. It never gave up that advantage. Never had a lull. Never gave Shepherd any breathing room by lifting its effective pressure.
Shepherd attempted to press the Warriors. East Stroudsburg didn’t blink often . . . taking a 45-35 lead by halftime. And it easily could have been worse for the Rams because usually effective Brantley Osborne was 0-for-6 on his three-point attempts.
The lead went out to 13 points with 3:12 to play in the vfirst half.
In the second half, Shepherd would find a short rally. But then the Warriors would score the next five points. Shepherd was within 55-52, but East Stroudsburg scored the next eight points to lead 63-52.
When it reached the bonus situation at the foul line with fully 11 minutes remaining, the Rams used made free throws to get close again.
But East Stroudsburg responded as it had done earlier. It continued its successful pressure defense — getting the results it wanted in the waning minutes when it strode on away from the Rams by outscoring them, 21-7, to make the final score a little deceiving.
A slew of effective players.
Many more rebounds.
And some cold-shooting Shepherd players whose troubles were probably caused by the tenacious East Stroudsburg defense.
The Warriors were 2-0. Shepherd was 1-1.
And the 2012-13 season was off on a sound note as provided by a talented and forceful East Stroudsburg team.