The following article is courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post. For the full article as well as pictures from last nights game visit the following link: Berkmar boys change momentum in second half, run past Dacula 66-46
DACULA — Sometimes it’s difficult to find a specific turning point of a basketball game, but in the Region 8-AAAAAA boys game between co-leaders Berkmar and Dacula, it was quite easy.
The Patriots’ 10-2 run over the final 2:22 of the third quarter opened the floodgates in the fourth quarter as Berkmar broke open a close game to cruise home in the final five minutes for a 66-46 victory Tuesday night at Dacula.
Al Durham scored 11 of his 18 points in the final 10 minutes of the game as Berkmar (16-7, 11-3) maintained its share of the region lead with Shiloh, setting up a possible showdown with the Generals for the No. 1 tournament seed if the Patriots can take care of Parkview tonight.
“Well, we’ve got Parkview (tonight), and that’s what we’re focused on,” Berkmar coach Greg Phillips said. “In this region, if you don’t take care of your business each individual night, the next one means nothing.
“(Dacula is) a great team with great players, but we just did a better job of making their shot attempts tougher in the second half.”
Early on, shots didn’t seem that tough for the host Falcons (17-6, 10-4), who scored the first 10 points of the game — four each from Derek St. Hilaire and Demari Edwards — over the first 2:50, and causing Berkmar to have to climb out of an early hole.
But climb the Patriots did, with Zack Cooks scoring eight points to lead a 17-7 run, and Durham’s tap in to beat the quarter buzzer pulling his team even at 17-all by the end of the opening frame.
The two teams then traded runs throughout the rest of the half, which ended with Dacula holding a scant 27-26 lead and into the third, where it looked like the Falcons were regaining control after Juwan White hit 1 of 2 free throws with 3:38 left in the period to give his team a 38-33 lead.
That’s when Bekrmar, and Durham in particular, began to heat up.
The 6-foot-4 junior first knocked down a 3-pointer, and then drove down the lane for a layup 23 seconds later following a defensive stop to pull the Patriots even at 38-all.
“He did a much better job in the second half of going off of two feet, gathering himself and just going up under control,” Phillips said of Durham. “That made a difference. He finished (plays). He (drew) fouls. When you’re out of control, you’re not going to get calls. In the first half, he was out of control. He did a much better job of being under control in the second half.”
Durham’s spurt ignited the momentum-changing 10-2 run that left Berkmar with a 43-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter, though it looked like Dacula would hang tough.
Kevon Tucker hit a bucket and then hit 1 of 2 free throws to counter a Lane Foster basket and Durham free throw to keep the Berkmar lead at just three at 46-43 with 5:17 to play.
But White’s 1 of 2 trip to the foul like with 4:05 remaining would be the only point the Falcons would score until Mehkail Beathea hit a layup as the final horn sounded.
By that time, Durham and the Patriots had taken full command.
The Indiana commit went strong to the basket for layups, the first one garnering a foul and a three-point play, and then hit Cooks with an excellent backdoor pass for a layup that pushed the Berkmar lead to 53-44 with 3:55 remaining.
Jay Estime, Foster and Cooks then each either got to the basket for layups or got fouled to go to the line over the next 2:51 to extend the lead to 62-44 and put the game away for the Patriots.
Cooks matched Durham’s point output with 18 points, and both players pulled down seven rebounds to lead Berkmar on the boards.
Estime chipped in 15 points, while the Patriots also got a strong defensive effort from Leroy Jones, who posted a game-high four steals.