Mavs prefer points in paint over life on 3-point line
Marvin Ridge’s boys are learning to play the percentages.
Shooting from 3-point range has become fashionable, but it’s a bad decision for most players.
Marvin Ridge is shooting a not-so-impressive 27.9 percent from 3-point range this season, compared to 51.2 percent from 2-point range.
“In the last couple years we were outside-in so we would go for three points first and then two points,” said junior John Emezie, a 6-5 forward who averages 16.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, following Friday’s thrilling 53-51 win at Weddington. “But the way we see it, people shoot better 2-point percentages than they do 3-point percentages. So most of our points we want inside the paint and then go outside if we’re open.”
Taylor Neal, a 6-4 senior wing, is Marvin Ridge’s best 3-point shooter and has the green light from 3-point range.
Neal has attempted 125 of his team’s 283 3-point shots this season, converting 40 of them (32 percent).
An Army commitment, Neal leads the team in scoring (16.4 ppg) and steals (2.1 spg) while ranking second in rebounding (6.1 rpg).
Neal understands the significance of inside players like Emezie and David Kelcy getting touches in the paint. Emezie shoots 59.2 percent from 2-point range and Kelcy, a 6-3 senior post, shoots 57.1 percent.
“We’re not as strong shooting as we have been in the past but what we lack in the shooting department that we’ve lost over the past two years is a lot of the guys work so hard and they work on getting a lot of inside shots off,” Neal said. “Everybody plays to their strengths, everybody knows their limitations, and I think that’s why we play so well together — because everybody knows what their supposed to do and we play well as one group.”
The Mavs are 2-0 in the Southern Carolina Conference, giving them a share of first place with Sun Valley, and stand 8-6 overall.
Sun Valley’s boys might not have the firepower they did a year ago, but the defending Southern Carolina Conference champions are looking like contenders ago.
The Spartans went 19-7 a year ago, and had to replace three players who signed college scholarships.
After a 6-6 start, Sun Valley has now won three straight — and are off to a 2-0 start in the SCC.
The Spartans have adjusted their style of play. Previously a guard-oriented attack, Sun Valley is running the offense through 6-5 forward Kendall Ratliff and 6-6 center Hakeem Polk.
Sun Valley, Marvin Ridge, Anson and Weddington are all capable of winning the league title this season.
Odds and ends ...... Weddington’s boys are 1-2 in games decided by two points after last week’s 53-51 home loss to Marvin Ridge. The Warriors lost their season opener at Piedmont (51-49) and beat Cox Mill (50-48) in the holiday tournament.
... Porter Ridge (4-10) is playing with a lot of passion this season and has a winnable home game against Parkwood (1-11) on Friday. The Pirates, led by senior wing Dallas Austin (12.5 ppg), are more competitive — as evidenced by a 57-53 loss at Monroe on Jan. 2. PR isn’t far from being a .500 team; three of their losses are by five points or less.
... Three of Parkwood’s last four losses have been by four points or less, including a 61-58 loss to Weddington on Jan. 8.
— E-J Correspondent David Sentendrey contributed to this story
Area conference standings
Rocky River Conference
Southern Carolina Conference
Piedmont at Union Academy
Monroe at Central Academy
Parkwood at Porter Ridge
Sun Valley at Marvin Ridge
Anson at Weddington
West Stanly at Cuthbertson