Smith and Caldwell lead Griffins past Braves

Kyle Riviere
Gary Smith (No. 23) and Nick Caldwell (No. 22) combined for 57 points in Dutchtown's 84-79 win over H.L. Bourgeois. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Dutchtown’s clash with H.L. Bourgeois at the John “Hot Rod” Williams Gold Dome Classic on Thursday night was an offensive showcase.

H.L. Bourgeois hit 12 treys and got a 33-point performance from their prolific guard, A.J. Rainey, but at every turn, Dutchtown had an answer.

Most of the time, that answer was the one-two punch of Gary Smith and Nick Caldwell. The two combined for 57 points in an exciting 84-79 shootout victory.

"We were able to knock down shots,” Griffin head coach Patrick Hill said. “We still left a lot of free throws at the line. That's been our Achilles--even though we have a winning record. We have to do better at the free-throw line, but offensively, we were able to match their level of intensity. That's the best team we've faced in this short season."

H.L. Bourgeois was able to build an early lead on Dutchtown as their defense came up with multiple steals, and they converted two 3-pointers.

However, a trey by Derrick Youngblood seemed to spark the Griffin offense. It was followed by two straight buckets by Caldwell.

This 7-0 run gave the Griffins a 26-19 lead heading to the second quarter.

The advantage wouldn’t last long as Dutchtown went cold from the field. Along the way, they missed multiple layups.

As for the Braves, they weren’t missing. They hit five more 3-pointers that helped them outscore the Griffins 19-12 in the period and clinch a 38-37 lead at halftime.

Offense continued to heat up in the third quarter, with each team trading made buckets.

Caldwell started the second half off with a 3-pointer, a steal and a dunk to give Dutchtown a 41-38 lead.

After H.L. Bourgeois answered, Smith started to take over as he drained three straight jumpers that put the Griffins up 5.

At the end of the quarter, Caldwell gathered in a loose ball and made a layup, and Troy Thomas scored inside to give Dutchtown their biggest lead of the game at 62-54.

The Griffins kept it going in the fourth.

Caldwell drove the baseline and threw down a huge dunk that ignited the crowd and put Dutchtown up 12, but they could never pull away.

Rainey and the Brave offense kept attacking.

Rainey scored 5 straight points for H.L. Bourgeois to cut the deficit to 77-70.

The Braves eventually got within 4 late, but Dutchtown was able to do just enough to close things out.

Jordan Jackson hit two big free throws in the waning seconds that helped them ice away the 84-79 victory.

Rainey’s 33 led all scorers. After the game, Coach Hill said that he “made a believer out of me.”

Hill was not a bit surprised by the challenge the Braves gave them throughout the night.

"That school has a great history of basketball,” Hill said. “They don't stop coming. We knew they were going to keep pushing. We watch film. Film gives you a little bit, but you have to know the culture of the school. They kept playing. I told my guys at halftime that that's the kind of game that we need to have--win or lose. They have tremendous guard play."

Smith finished as Dutchtown’s leading scorer with 30, but Caldwell was close behind with 27.

Thomas chipped in with 11.

And though he may have only scored 6, Jackson made a great impression on his head coach.

"Jordan Jackson came off of the football field. He's been playing for three years, so he has a lot of miles on his legs,” Hill said. “He's not that big of a guy, but he's big in heart. He guided us the best way he could, because we have to hit the ground running with him. He's like the nucleus of our team in more ways than one. He has to guard the best player, and he handles the basketball."

The victory improved Dutchtown to 4-1 to start the season.