Capital coach Matt Greene has been hoping all season to see improvement from his largely inexperienced team. He got all of that Thursday evening.
Daimarquis Brooks, a 6-foot-4 junior and first-year player, turned in a career-high 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds as the Cougars thrashed visiting South Charleston 85-53.
All five Cougars starters nearly reached double-figure scoring as the home side put up a 24-2 run to bridge the first and second quarters and that had Capital (5-6) in control the rest of the night.
For Greene, it was a lot better feeling than his team’s last game, a last-second 79-77 loss at Spring Valley on Tuesday.
“Obviously, it’s a good win for us,’’ Greene said, “and we played much better. Our defense was more in tune, we took care of the ball and rebounded pretty good, executed a little bit better and we’re coming along.
“The Spring Valley game set us back a little bit in our progression, but we had a good focus in practice and came out in the beginning with a good focus. We weren’t really happy about that Spring Valley game, but we’ve been making positive progress throughout the year.’’
Capital shot 52 percent and went 10 of 22 from 3-point range, getting long balls from five different players.
Freshman point guard De’Mahjae Clark also had a career-high in points (16) to back Brooks, and was followed by Kerion Martin (13 points, nine rebounds) and Karrington Hill (11 points). Elijah Poore fell a point short of having all five starters in double-digit scoring, but Ekia Wicker came off the bench to drop in 11 points.
“We have more consistent shooters than we’ve had in years past,’’ Greene said, “so with them being out in space, when we try to get it inside, it allows the shooters to get free a little bit.’’
For South Charleston (6-6), it marked a fourth straight loss, which comes on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
The Black Eagles had all sorts of problems Thursday, shooting 33 percent overall, going 4 of 28 from 3-point range, getting outrebounded by eight and turning the ball over 14 times. SC even incurred a technical foul when one of its players entered the game wearing a different number than the one written in the scorebook.
“To be honest, we saw this coming from the way we played the last two, three games,’’ said Josh Daniel, SC’s first-year coach. “If you’d have asked me two weeks ago when we were playing really well and had won four in a row, I would have chalked this kind of game up as it just wasn’t our night. But this game has been building up for the last week or two.’’
At one point in the first half, with his team down 33-9, Daniel started emptying his bench, trying to find a combination that worked on the floor. He used 12 players but didn’t get much of a spark, as the Black Eagles trailed 43-19 at the break.
Daniel was asked what it’s going to take to get SC back to playing like it was two weeks ago when it was 6-2.
“That’s a great question,’’ he said. “Those are the answers we’re trying to find as a coaching staff and as a team right now. When we do things the right way, we have a good basketball team. When we don’t do the right things, little things like we talk about every day, then we’re not very good. Our margin for error is very, very small.’’
Quay Sutton led South Charleston with 13 points, but was only 1 of 11 on 3s. Bradley Jones added 12 points and D.J. Johnson snagged seven rebounds.