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Big second quarter boosts Obama Academy past Brashear

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Obama Academy's Deandre Byrd grabs a loose ball between Brashear's Mike Williams (13) and Davon Taylor during the second half of their City League game Tuesday Jan. 15, 2013 in Beechview.

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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 8:20 p.m.

Trailing Brashear by three early, Obama Academy co-coach Naron Jackson delivered a message to this team.

“Coach told us to pressure the ball ... just make sure to trap the ball hard, and we should get turnovers,” guard DeAndre Byrd said. “They should give us the ball, basically.”

Buoyed by a 29-point outburst in the second quarter that featured an abundance of easy buckets off steals, Obama asserted itself as the team to beat in the City League with an 89-66 win Tuesday at Brashear.

“That's one thing we try to work on — forcing turnovers and playing hard,” Jackson said. “And that's how it played out. They were forcing a lot of turnovers.”

Byrd and fellow senior guard Lamont Butler had 17 points apiece, and D'mon Reynolds added 13 points for the Eagles (11-1, 4-0), who posted a season high for points but were even more satisfied with their pressure defense.

“That's all we all work on in practice is defense, defense, defense,” Byrd said. “If we don't do anything else, we're going to play defense. That's what we run off of (offensively) — straight defense.”

It certainly worked that way when Obama took control in the second quarter. Facing their largest deficit at 19-16, Obama went on a 9-0 run and never trailed again.

The final seven of those points came in just 52 seconds — all set up by steals.

“They did very well with pressuring our guards, and we didn't handle it as well as we could,” Bulls coach Carey White said. “We have mostly senior guards, and I expected them to play a little bit better than they did today.”

Brashear was without 6-foot-4 senior forward Deyshawn Martin, a transfer from Chartiers Valley who White said soon will be cleared to play.

Senior Mike Williams had 17 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls (8-4, 2-1), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Brashear was the only other remaining undefeated team in City League play.

“We didn't play well today at all, and it was obvious by the score. But we're a much better team than what was displayed today,” White said. “And we'll get better. I'm not worried about it at all.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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