Berkmar defense stifles Dacula 60-38

DACULA -- Berkmar's boys basketball coach Greg Phillips has a simple goal for his team during each game.

"We take pride in holding teams under 45 (points)," Phillips said.

The Patriots accomplished that goal with relative ease in Tuesday night's Region 8-AAAAA contest at Dacula, stifling the host Falcons to single-digit points in three of the four quarters while cruising to a 60-38 win.

It was the second straight game Berkmar (9-5, 7-1) -- which gives up an average of just 52.1 points per game -- has reached Phillips' goal, and the third time in the last six games.

Combined with a balanced offensive attack, led by Adonai Rogers' game-high 18 points, it was a strong tune up for the Patriots' rematch with top-ranked Shiloh for a share of the region lead Friday at Shiloh.

"We haven't even talked about (Shiloh), but we'll start talking about them (today)," Phillips said. "That was our focus was to understand that (Tuesday) night's game was just as important as what's coming up."

After Xavier Okoro gave Dacula its only lead of the game with 3-pointer 53 seconds after the opening tip, Berkmar demonstrated it had taken its coach's challenge to heart.

The Patriots didn't allow the Falcons (9-7, 4-4) on the scoreboard again until Brandon Goodson's 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in the opening frame.

In the interim, Adonai Rogers set the tone on both ends of the court to lead a run of 12 straight Berkmar points that left the Patriots with a 12-6 lead by the end of the period.

"Our main game plan was to contain and contest," Rogers said, who added eight rebounds to go with his scoring total. "We wanted to keep them going to their left and not let them (go) to the right. I was just playing within the team. If you play within the team, the game comes to you."

The game came to Adonai Rogers and Tyler Rogers in the second quarter, especially after Dacula pulled as close as 14-11 after an Okoro free throw with 6:08 left in the first half.

The pair combined for eight points during a 14-4 run over the final 5:59 of the half to help the Patriots extend the lead to a comfortable 28-15 by intermission.

And they continued the defensive pressure in the second half, switching off between man-to-man and 1-3-1 and 1-2-2 traps run from both full and halfcourt to frustrate the Falcons, whom they outrebounded by a lopsided 41-24 margin.

And a pair of 8-0 runs -- the first midway through the third quarter and the other midway through the fourth -- helped Berkmar gradually pull away.

"They killed us," Dacula coach B.J. Roy said of Berkmar. "They came out and outplayed us, and we didn't respond well."

Okoro led the Falcons with 15 points and seventh rebound, five assists and three blocked shots, 6-foot-9 Tim Rowe and 6-5 Tyler Rogers rotated back and forth in the lineup to make the 6-4 Dacula senior work for everything he got. Tyler Rogers finished with 12 points and six rebounds, while Rowe chipped in a game-high nine rebounds, plus two blocks, to go with his four points.

"We were going to make everybody work for theirs," Phillips said. "It helps when you have a 6-9 kid who can guard (Okoro) and you don't have to double team him."

Berkmar also got contributions from Brandon Thompson (10 points, four rebounds) and Yonel Brown (nine points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals).

"Dacula's a very good team," Phillips said. "We just happened to play well (Tuesday) night and have a good game."