When your offense starts sluggish coming off a rivalry game, sometimes just having Connor Crabtree is enough.
Orange labored through a lethargic opening against Southern Alamance on Tuesday night at Jim King Gymnasium, scoring just one field goal in the opening six minutes. After Southern’s Harrison Cochran’s backdoor lay-in put the Patriots ahead 7-6, Crabtree simply took the game over.
He went on a personal 9-0 run bridging the opening quarters, finished with 29 and Orange (5-3) defeated Southern Alamance 71-55.
Fellow senior Logan Vosburg added 14 points, while freshman Mitch Portman also added 14, 13 in the 2nd half.
Orange’s defense held the Patriots (2-6) to nine points in the second quarter and never led by less than ten points in the second half.
Kyle Forbes led the Patriots with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Harrison Cochran added 15.
“It took a while for us to get into a flow on offense tonight,” said Orange Coach Greg Motley. “We didn’t anticipate that. We feel that’s one of our strong points. At least it has so far this season. So we struggled to get into a groove.”
Orange was aided at the beginning of the second quarter after a bizarre technical foul against SAHS. Patriots backup center Lewis Drake was cited for wearing a different colored t-shirt underneath his red jersey. That led to Crabtree scoring both technical free throws, then canned a 15-footer on the subsequent possession.
At one point, Motley inserted the Football Four off the bench: Ryan Sellers, Morgan Pashcal. Kendall Whitted and Eli Haithcock, all of whom joined the team two weeks ago after Orange’s football season ended. Sellers had a season-high seven points of the bench.
While Orange still prides itself on its transition game, the one thing that’s missing this year is a point guard that can lead the break. Crabtree has triggered almost all of Orange’s transition opportunities, which Motley doesn’t mind. He just prefers Crabtree as a finisher.
“We’ve looked at our freshman guards (Portman and Joey McMillian) to try to fill that role,” said Motley. “It’s a work in progress.”
Orange will return to action against East Chapel Hill on Wednesday night, the team they defeated for its first win of the season 57-55 on November 29th.
“We have to enjoy this one quickly,” said Motley. “It’s a tough one tomorrow.”
ORANGE 71, SOUTHERN ALAMANCE 55
SOUTHERN ALAMANCE: Kyle Forbes 19, Jsi Hatfield 5, Harrison Cochran 15, Chandler Smith 7, Mikol Slade 2, Grant Sharpe 2, Lewis Drake 5.
ORANGE: Mitch Portman 14, Connor Crabtree 29, Logan Vosburg 14, Eli Haithcock 2, Morgan Paschal 1, Ryan Sellers 7, Matt Athenton 2, Treshon Richardson 2.