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Cramer varsity basketball wins four straight

Feb 13, 2020 11:36AM

By John Wilson

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All season the Stuart Cramer basketball team has shown flashes of what they can do. Now, as the Storm turns into the final stretch of the regular season, those flashes are beginning to turn into a steady burning light.

Cramer is riding a four-game winning streak. The Storm is showing that at any given time they’re capable of beating just about anybody.

The question facing Cramer now is simple. Is this late surge all just a little too late?

With just two games left in the regular season, Cramer is 12-10 overall and 3-7 in conference action. 

At this point, a playoff spot is far from guaranteed. 

With a 3-7 league showing it’s apparent that Cramer won’t take the Big South 3A. However, that doesn’t mean the team doesn’t have a legitimate shot at landing a spot in the upcoming North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) playoffs.

Things just need to break Cramer’s way.

Right now Cramer is hot. While it’s true the Storm haven’t always been consistent this season it looks like their players have finally found their footing and have figured it out.

In recent games, the Storm have beat West Stanly 88-70, North Gaston 75-62, Chase 75-60, and Ashbrook 68-59.

If Cramer continues to play this well, they may be able to do something special down the stretch.

“I think we are starting to grow up,” head coach Brad Sloan said. “We are a young team and we have been up and down on a roller coaster all season.”

Coach Sloan is right, Cramer is definitely a young team, many of their top players are underclassmen. 

Having a young team has been a double edge sword for Cramer. On one side you have a group with no experience. On the other, you have untapped potential and room to grow.

 It looks like Cramer’s lack of experience is becoming less of an issue. Things are working out as the younger players are maturing and their true potential is finally coming to fruition.  

 “The light bulb has come on and we are starting to figure it out as a team,” Sloan added.

No one player can do it all. To win you need good starters and a solid bench. Players like senior Tyrese Jeffries have played well this year. However, at this time the players that are making a big impact are sophomores, Will Kelly and Derek Bradley.

“Will Kelly is our leader. He has been strong for us all season,” coach Sloan explained. “He is in the top three in all our statistical categories.”

As for Bradley, well, coach Sloan thinks this young man has come on strong at just the right time.

“Derek Bradley has really stepped up his game,” Sloan went on. “He’s had some really good games for us recently. He’s figured it out. We wouldn’t be on the streak we are on without Derek’s play.”

Bradley’s play is illustrated in the stat sheets. For example against Chase, Bradley had 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

So back to the playoffs.

It’s hard to say where Cramer goes from here. 

The Storm have a two-tier path to the playoffs. 

On one hand, if the Storm can win the Big South 3A tournament then they get an automatic playoff bid. 

However, that’s asking a lot. The safest bet for Cramer is for the Storm to finish strong and rack up a few more wins to increase their chances. 

Right now if things stay the way they are, then Cramer has a 50/50 shot at making the playoffs. But, if Cramer finishes strong they should nab a bracket spot.

When asked about how the playoffs shake out, coach Sloan didn’t speculate. He only stated the obvious.

“We need a strong finish,” Sloan stressed.

This week Cramer finishes the regular season with home games against Huss and Forestview.