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Charlotte Elite blow out unbeaten Wilmington Sea Dawgs, 154-109 - Jan 5, 2016

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To the outside basketball world, what happened Saturday in Tobacco Road Basketball League action seemed unfathomable. The first place, undefeated, perennial powerhouse Wilmington Sea Dawgs went up against the second year franchise Charlotte Elite who this year has seemed to find every way imaginable to lose in the closing two minutes of games. Add to that the recent wave of roster moves the Elite have made, losing five players and adding four, as well as the game time decision not to play their leading scorer and captain, Terrone Sheffey, and the oddsmakers probably would have had a field day with this game.

But that's why the games have to be played.

The tone was set from the very beginning, with Charlotte's Shaun Kirkland scoring the game's first basket then immediately getting a steal. The Elite never looked back, continually pressuring the Sea Dawgs into tough shots and pushing the pace on the offensive end. By the end of the first quarter the Charlotte team was a holding a 27-10 lead.

In the second quarter, the Wilmington offense came alive by way of Marco Spears, Levi Humphrey and Addison Spruill. The Sea Dawgs scored 37 points in the period. However, the Elite also increased their output, scoring 40 points in the second quarter, capped off by one sequence in which, Ryan Scott (25 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds), playing in his first game, hit three straight 3 pointers. At halftime the score was 47-67 and it appeared that the Elite had an answer for everything the Sea Dawgs threw at them.

In the second half, the Elite came out flat initially. After watching the lead diminish to 13 points halfway through the quarter, Charlotte substituted all five of its players and ended the period on a 19-9 run. It was evident early in the fourth quarter that the superior depth of Charlotte had taken its toll on the Sea Dawgs. With players coming in in waves, Charlotte tallied a whopping 58 points in the final period en rout to a 154-109 blowout.

With 12 players contributing in the scoring column and 31 team assists, it was a total team effort in securing the victory punctuated by several highlight reel dunks from Martin Barrett (20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks) and Kirkland, (37 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals). Wilmington was led by Spruill (28 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists). Next up for the Elite is a much anticipated crosstown rivalry versus Huntersville Hoopforlyfe on Saturday January 9th at 7PM.

Ian Gregory
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