By Jason Herd For the Pharos-Tribune
---- — FULTON — After handing West Central a sound thumping last Friday night, the Caston Comets seem to be finding a groove, winning three of their last four games. The offensive apprehension that the young Comets showed earlier in the season has subsided, and the new up-tempo style has finally harvested success on the floor.
Combine that with a revitalized effort on the boards and sound halfcourt defense, and J.R. Howell’s squad may be poised for a midseason run.
Conversely, North Miami’s struggles continue as the Warriors entered Tuesday night’s game in Fulton at 1-8. The Warriors’ lone victory came against Whitko in overtime on Dec. 28, and their eight losses have been by an average of 22 points per game. The slump doesn’t stop there. The Warriors have won just six games dating back to Nov. 2011.
This one was decided by a 14-3 run by the Comets to close out the third period, and they went on to a 69-56 home victory.
The Comets (6-5) jumped out to an early 15-8 lead, only to give up two 3-pointers by Warrior seniors Alex Borse and Keith Rouch to close the gap to 15-14 at the end of the first. North Miami proceeded to take their first and final lead of the game at the start of the second after a basket by senior Damon Gipson. Consecutive 3s by Eli Douglass and Brayton Jellison, sandwiched between Quentin Douglass layups gave Caston a 26-19 lead midway through the period. Borse finished the quarter with a three-point play to draw North Miami within 6 at half.
One reason for the improved play has to be the recent performance of sophomore Brayton Jellison. The 6-2 forward has been a rebounding magnet, which has given the Comets a lift on both ends of the floor. With Quentin Douglass drawing attention from opposing defenses, Jellison has also flourished in the scoring column, scoring 14 against West Central and 17 more Tuesday. He added 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
“I think we are starting to come together as a team. Everyone is going all out everyday, and doing their part,” said Jellison.
After distributing to teammates in the first and second periods, Douglass started attacking the lane with success. The senior scored the final 5 points of the third, helping push Caston to a commanding 51-38 lead.
Another Borse 3 cut the lead to 10 early in the fourth. He finished with a team-high 15 points for the Warriors. Douglass scored six of his game-high 23 points in the final quarter, ensuring that there would be no comeback. The third Comet in double figures was junior Dustin Offenberger, who finished with 13.
“Everyone that played tonight was productive. We moved the ball well and got solid minutes from our bench,” said Howell.
Caston hosts South Newton Friday, in a girls-boys doubleheader.