There was a nearly three-minute stretch at the start of the second quarter where nothing happened. And because of it, the floodgates opened for Sherman.
“Going into the second quarter, we wanted to pull them out of the zone,” Sherman head coach Marcus Klingsick said. “He would have been happy going in at 19-11. That was the change in the game right there.”
Holding an eight-point lead the Bearcats crossed half-court and saw Denison sitting in its defense. Sherman wanted to force the Jackets to go man-to-man. Denison wasn’t planning on it. So Daishawn Nelson stood with the ball well behind the 3-point line on the right wing.
And stood there. And stood there. And stood there. The clock ticked under seven minutes. Then six. Then it started approaching five.
“I’d say keep it eight points as long as possible,” said Denison head coach Chet Byerly, who would have been glad to be down single-digits going to the second half.
Sherman then decided to run its offense, scoring on Jaylyn Cleamons’ drive to the hoop. Three more baskets in a little more than minute followed and the Bearcats were off to an 87-52 victory in District 5-5A action on Friday night at Denison.
Nelson led the way with 20 points for Sherman (16-6, 3-1), which is in a three-way tie for second place with Denton Ryan and Wichita Falls Rider — its opponent on Tuesday night. Cleamons added 19 points, Kemonte Dowdy chipped in 12 points and Jeremy Norvell totaled 11 points.
“We’re a veteran ballclub. We’re going to hit a shot and it’s going to snowball,” Klingsick said. “We got into a flow and got things going.”
Mykel Anderson scored 15 points, Rustin Workman added 10 points and Noah Burden and Pierce Barker chipped in six points apiece for Denison (5-18, 0-5), which closes out the first half of its schedule at Wichita Falls still seeking that first district victory.
“Negative things are going to happen. Are you going to learn from it and grow?” Byerly said. “That’s what this is for; try to make progress. I thought we came out concerned about what could happen and it did.”
The Jackets held a 5-0 lead two minutes into the game when Anderson hit a jumper and D’Aundre Barker made a 3-pointer on the break. Sherman had the quick answer with one of Dowdy’s two 3s in the quarter to tie the game and Sherman closed the first eight minutes on an 11-2 run.
Jalen Hess’ basket to open the second for Denison made it 19-11 when Sherman then took possession and went into its stall. Once the Bearcats ended that tactic, the Jackets eventually found themselves down 37-19 at the break and that including scoring four points in the final minute.
Norvell hit a 3 and Cleamons notched four points during a 10-2 burst by the Bearcats in the middle of the second. But the best was yet to come for Sherman in the third quarter.
After scoring 37 points in the first half, the Bearcats made 13 shots and 10 free throws in the third quarter for 41 points and had a 78-37 lead by the end of the frame.
“We went in at halftime and talked about pushing the pace,” Klingsick said. “Early in the quarter the press — we got some good looks off it.”
Dowdy made two 3s, Dylan Kyle connected from long range and Cleamons converted a three-point play all in the span of a minute to push the lead over 30 in the middle of the quarter. Nelson scored 11 points in the frame and the Bearcats only made five 3s for such production.
After Sherman pushed its largest advantage to 42 points on a 3-pointer from Isaiah Harris, Denison had a 9-0 run in the middle of the fourth on baskets by Conner Massenburg, Keyshawn Tubbs, Barker and Burden.
“Let’s enjoy it for a little while because we have two huge games (this) week,” Klingsick said. “The top four or five in the district are really close. It’s going to come down to the little things we need to do.”