PETTICOAT JUNCTION, S.C. --- Silver Bluff boys basketball coach Andrew Jernigan couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2009-10 season from his players. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first three minutes before visiting Strom Thurmond called a timeout in Silver Bluff's opener Thursday night.
Jernigan, known for his emotional style of coaching, greeted his players near midcourt with a hearty fist pump and a face swollen red with intensity.
"He always likes to keep our energy high like that, and that's how he does it," Silver Bluff guard Travis Williams said. "He was screaming, 'Let's run them out of the gym. Let's run them out of the gym. He keeps us fired up like that.' "
The Bulldogs responded with a continued full court pressure and took a 22-3 first-quarter lead. The quick start proved to be the difference maker in a 63-41 victory over the Rebels.
"I think they enjoy that," Jernigan said of his high-energy style of coaching. "The expression we use for our pressure is 'blood in the water.' With the style of play we run, we can turn that kind of momentum into points quick."
That style starts with a guard-heavy offense led by Williams, L.J. Green and Kendell Rogers. The three guards combined for 47 points in the victory. Rogers led the way with 19.
"The players we have fit our system real well," Jernigan said. "We now have that ability to bring speed and pressure, and tonight we did what we're going to try to do all season."
Strom Thurmond made a game of it with a comeback late in the first half and cut the lead to just 10 points on the first bucket of the third quarter. But the basket, which came off the hand of Antonio Hamilton for a 30-20 score, was one of only two shots the Rebels made in the third quarter. Silver Bluff led by as many as 24 points in the second half to complete the victory.
Strom Thurmond guard Demarkus Smith provided the only consistent offense for the visiting Rebels. He finished with 19 points and joined with senior Jonathon Williams (8 points) as the only two Rebels to score more than four.
Silver Bluff forward T.J. Johnson added 12 points in the win.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
STROM THURMOND (41)--Demarkus Smith 19, Jonathan Williams 8, Antonio Hamilton 4, Julian Thompson 3, Deikory Williams 2, Raleigh Yeldell 2, Alex Parks 2, Nick Williamson 1. Totals 12 17-31 41.
SILVER BLUFF (63)--Kendall Rogers 19, L.J. Green 15, Travis Williams 13, T.Y. Johnson 12, Damion Wright 2, Blake Robbins 2. 23 11-20 63.
Strom Thurmond 3 15 12 11 -- 41
Silver Bluff 22 8 16 17 -- 63
3-point goals: Strom Thurmond 0; Silver Bluff 3 (Rogers 3)
Records: Strom Thurmond 0-4; Silver Bluff 1-0