Shroder Doesn't Quit

12/11/2017

Aiken High School hosted the Shroder Jaguars this past Friday in an early season CMAC contest. After a remarkable first-half for the Falcons, Shroder emerged victorious by a score of 72-68 with an improbable fourth-quarter comeback. 

When asked about how he felt about his team's performance so far this season, Shroder Coach Will Johnson said, "I think we've underachieved. There have been times where we could have played better and we have to finish games." It's worth noting that in their first CMAC inter-conference game, the Jags were tied with Western Hills going into the fourth quarter and ended up losing by 15.

Coach Johnson did not want to take Aiken lightly. "We have to match their passion and determination. If we can win on the glass and make our free throws, we can win this game."

On the other side of things, Aiken came into the game with a 1-1 record but had not yet played a CMAC game. After talking to the Falcon's coaching staff, their goal was to "Compete for four quarters and get better." The Falcons ultimately look to their seniors, Hajsani Estes and Blake Smith to ignite their intensity, but the Aiken coaching staff made sure we knew to watch out for their Freshman starting point guard, Jakada Stone as well.

Aiken jumped out to a 26-17 lead in the first quarter, highlighted by several transition buckets for both teams. The Falcons came out firing on all cylinders and one of their go-to seniors (Estes) had a powerful two-handed dunk to get the home crowd into the game. Aiken continued to dominate the pace of the game, as Stone and Smith both had 12 points at half time when Aiken held a 43-28 lead. 

Shroder never let the Falcons get too far ahead, but still struggled to close the gap until they came out with full-court pressure on the Freshman guard. At the end of the third quarter, the Jags still trailed by 14 points but you could feel the momentum shifting. All of a sudden, the Jags started the final quarter on a 17-0 run and took their first lead of the night. 

Before the game, Coach Johnson told us the Senior guard, Brandon Doss was the "glue" of the team. Behind a few clutch free throws and threes, Doss ended with a game-high 24 points and was clearly a leader on the court, never losing faith in his team as they pulled away with a win. 

Not to be overlooked, Blake Smith and Jakada Stone played terrific games for Falcons as they both nailed a handful of threes that kept the Falcons in it. The bench may have proved to be the difference in the game however, as the Jags back-ups outscored Aiken 20-7. Doss mentioned in his post-game interview, "We never quit. We have a good group of guys that trust each other."

Doss and Johnson also gave a big shout out to Dartanion Battle. "When we were in the locker room, he got everybody together and on the same page." Doss also explained that Battle wanted to take on the responsibility of guarding the point for the rest of the game and the switch in defensive personnel proved to be impactful. 

Shroder split with Aiken last season in two very close games. There seems to be a trend when these two schools get together and this past Friday lived up to the hype. They'll play again January 26, 2018 when there may be high stakes in CMAC play. 

In the meantime, Shroder looks to keep its momentum going against Woodward on Friday at Shroder High School at 7:30 pm. 

Aiken looks to get going against Western Hills next Friday at home at 7:30 pm.