In Dutchtown's come-from-behind 49-46 overtime win over East Ascension Friday night, they used a very familiar adage: offense wins games, and defense will keep you in them.
"That's not exactly how it goes, but that's the creed we've been using. We've been having to use it to get ourselves back into games," Griffin head coach Patrick Hill said.
Dutchtown had to lean on that tenacious defense and the scoring of Christian Thompson to battle back from an early 14-4 deficit.
The Spartans started off fast as Jacardo Hawkins was fed two easy buckets right out of the gates to get the East Ascension faithful revved up.
Soon afterward, Johnell Lane continued his hot-streak from the outside as he nailed two 3-pointers to give East Ascension their biggest lead of the game at 14-4.
Dutchtown finally settled down at the end of the quarter and momentarily stopped the bleeding. They headed into the second period down 14-7 with all seven of their points coming from Thompson.
He upped his total to nine in the second until another Griffin finally decided to join him. Nick Whalen buried a 3-pointer to cut the Spartan lead to 16-12.
But East Ascension maintained their strong grip of the game. Eric Williams knocked down a trey of his own to give the Spartans their biggest lead of the contest at 11.
With their backs pressed firmly against the wall, the Dutchtown defense intensified, and Whalen caught fire.
He hit a second 3-pointer and as time expired before the half, he nailed a third to cut the East Ascension lead to 25-22 at the break.
The 8-0 run to end the half ignited the Griffins in the second half. They came out and begin giving the Spartan offense fits--forcing turnovers in the bunches.
Thompson continued his charge as he stole a ball away and made a beautiful full-court pass that hit Whalen in stride. Whalen finished it off with a lay-in to cut the deficit to just one.
Thompson continued his fierce defensive play as he made two big blocks on shots by Hawkins down low. It all lead to Patrick Thompson getting a bucket that gave Dutchtown their first lead of the game at 28-27.
At the end of the sloppy, back-and-forth quarter, Christian Thompson was fouled at the buzzer. He hit one of the two free throws to give the Griffins a 33-32 advantage heading into the fourth.
That's when Hawkins started to assert himself for the Spartans. He got two quick buckets to give East Ascension a 38-35 lead.
However, the Griffin defense once again made a few critical stops and got the ball back into the hands of Christian Thompson. Thompson nailed a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game with just 1:05 remaining.
The Spartans had a shot to win it late, but Deandre Jones' attempt wouldn't go.
In overtime, Patrick Thompson helped Dutchtown take control. He started things off with a baseline jumper.
After Christian Thompson stole the ball, raced to the goal and missed the lay-in, Patrick Thompson was right there to clean it up with the put-back. And on the next possession, he converted another put-back to give the Griffins their biggest lead of the game at six.
After that, Christian Thompson and Whalen were able to ice the game away at the free-throw line.
The big 6-0 run by Patrick Thompson and Dutchtown to start overtime proved to be the difference in the game.
"They got some good shots at the basket; they just didn't go in," Hill said. "Ours were fortunate enough to go, and we attacked the basket a little more aggressively. It wasn't anything we did schematically."
Three players scored in double-figures for the Griffins. Christian Thompson led the way with 22, Whalen had 14 and Patrick Thompson added 10--with eight coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
As for East Ascension, Hawkins got his points. He led the Spartans with 21, but nothing came easy for him down low.
"You can't stop him (Hawkins); you can only try to contain him," Hill said. "He's probably the best post player in this area and one of the best overall players in the area. They worked hard. They held their own on the defensive end, and that's what we've been asking them to do all year."
Spartan head coach Kenny Almond didn't have as much to say. He was very frustrated with the loss after the game.
"It was just poor coaching on my part. We did the best we could; we're trying," Almond said.
With the defeat, his East Ascension squad dropped to 5-3 in district play.
As for 22-6 Dutchtown, it's unlikely they'll be winning the district crown, but the win was huge none the less. It ended a two-game losing streak and a stretch of four losses in their previous seven games.