Stafford rebounds to beat Osbourn Park

MANASSAS — Having lost a week earlier at home to Osbourn Park, Stafford boys basketball coach Steve Spicer decided to play more zone in Tuesday night’s rematch. The strategy worked for reasons he hadn’t even planned.

The Indians rebounded from a three-point loss to Osbourn Park by winning 52-48, as the Yellow Jackets went cold and relied too much on outside jumpers. In the first game, Stafford senior guard Brad Hayes led all scorers with 26 points in a 58-55 loss on Dec. 11. The Indians, though, struggled because of foul trouble to their interior players.

“We wanted to make sure we protected our bigger kids,” said Spicer, whose team improved to 3-2. “When you have to play against man or zone, you have a different mind set. There are nights where the zone works and there are nights where if they happen to hit some, it’s like sharks hitting on blood.”

In this case, Osbourn Park (2-2) made three 3-pointers by halftime as it trailed just 23-22. But the Jackets connected on only one 3-pointer in the second half. Hayes’ 11 points led Stafford, which won on the strength of its 1-3-1 defense despite 13-of-29 foul shooting.

“We’ve just gotta go back, look at this thing and figure out what’s going on,” Osbourn Park coach Danny Lawray said. “We’ve gotta get production from our big guys; they need to play like big guys.

“I’m not surprised [Stafford] went to so much zone because we’re not a great team from the outside. We weren’t aggressive enough offensively. We were too busy moving the ball, then trying to force passes.”

In a game that included seven ties and seven lead changes, Stafford took the lead for good with 3:21 left on a free throw by Hayes. Kevin Edwards then made 1 of 2 at the line; Hayes scored a layup on an Edwards assist; and Edwards scored on a length-of-the-floor inbounds pass from Hayes.

Hayes, who has scored in double figures in four of the Indians’ five games, also provided five assists on Tuesday night. For Osbourn Park, Jon Pierce (11 points) and Todd Brannan (10 points) were the top scorers.

“That’s my job to fix [the offensive troubles],” Lawray said. “Lord knows we’ve got tougher games than them. That’s not to take anything away from Stafford; they always play us tough.”

On Tuesday night, the Indians played even tougher than last week because Cole Arnett, Charlie Ross and Brian Tyson stayed in the game. Arnett, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, was especially effective, finishing with seven points, four blocked shots and five rebounds.

“Our big kids didn’t get in foul trouble,” Spicer said. “And even though [Osbourn Park] hit some threes, we tried our best to identify the shooters and not let them beat the zone too much.”

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