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D-B stymies Devils' duo in Arby's Classic win

Tanner Cook • Dec 31, 2018 at 10:40 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Dobyns-Bennett senior point guard Marae Foreman and an exceptional defense took center stage Monday afternoon in the sixth-place game of the 36th Arby’s Classic.

Foreman scored 29 points and the Tribe defense locked down on Gate City shooters Zac Ervin and Bradley Dean in a 68-51 victory.

“We wanted to make things as hard as we possibly could for (Ervin and Dean),” D-B coach Chris Poore said. “They’re exceptional talents that make tough shots game after game and score at an unbelievable and efficient rate. Everything had to be earned and we had to get to their legs. We knew they didn’t sub, so they play a lot of minutes and we pushed the pace a lot.

“I thought our guys’ buy-in to make things hard on them was unbelievable.”

Ervin finished with 22 points but hit just 1 of 11 3-point attempts and shot nine free throws. He did break his own 2015 Arby’s Classic record for most free throws made, 41, in a single tournament.

Dean scored 12 points after going 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

The Indians double- and sometimes triple-teamed both Dean and Ervin off screens, a strategy that worked to perfection for Poore’s squad despite being installed over the weekend.

That possibly provided a blueprint to slow the dynamic duo after the Blue Devils finished with one of their most woeful shooting performances in three years. They hit just 17 of 50 attempts from the field and 4 of 27 from behind the arc.

“Their defensive strategy was designed to beat us at that moment in time and we weren’t on top of our game today. I can’t make excuses, though,” Gate City coach Scott Vermillion said. “Dobyns-Bennett played really well today and they hit shots when they needed to. Once they got the lead and got comfortable, they had the guards to pull us out. ...

“I feared this might happen when we played a good team,” Vermillion added, “but Coach Poore should be really proud of his team.”

The Tribe didn’t have the ideal start to the game — trailing 16-10 at the end of the opening quarter — but got rolling in the second period and never looked back. By the end of the half, D-B had turned a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead even with junior big man Charlie Browder on the bench in foul trouble.

The Blue Devils never got any closer than 10 the rest of the game. The Indians’ lead extended as high as 19, the largest deficit the Blue Devils have faced all season.

“We knew that when we beat Morristown East on Saturday that we would be facing tough competition,” Foreman said. “I had the mindset of going out there to play hard and make the right decisions. ... We wanted this one really bad.

“I’ve been playing against Bradley Dean since I was young,” Foreman added, “and it’s fun to go up against people that you know.”

This year’s sixth-place finish and last year’s fifth-place effort give D-B the best back-to-back showings for local teams in the Arby’s Classic since Science Hill was fourth in the 2004 event and third in 2005.

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