"Cohesion-wise, probably the last three weeks, we just haven't had the glue, the cohesion together we needed. When you're not giving your big man touches, you're missing your 3-point shots, you're out there on the floor trying to make some kind of pass and can't get it to them - you get too many turnovers.''
East hung around for a long time, trailing just 29-23 at halftime and was still within 35-32 midway into the third quarter. That's when SC went on a quick 10-0 run, including two more baskets following steals.
That made it 45-32 and East was never again within 10 points. Devyn Harris added four thefts and Hunter Moles three for No. 3-ranked South Charleston (19-2).
"When the wheels come off, they come off away from home,'' Justice said, "and you're playing a good team that's coming off a big loss to Woodrow Wilson. They got romped on and everything. They were ready to play and we just weren't.''
Moles also provided an offensive spark for SC with 12 points against East's unusual man-to-man defense, in which 6-foot-9 Obi Romeo doesn't venture outside the foul lane if his man is stationed on the perimeter. Thus, Moles was left wide open on several occasions and knocked down three baskets in SC's third-quarter surge.
"I remember that from last year at Greenbrier East,'' Moles said. "They did the same thing and I didn't play with a lot of confidence. So tonight I just wanted to come out and play with some confidence. I thought they might do that just because they like to keep him in the paint. My teammates trusted me and I hit some shots down, and it worked for us.''
Romeo also had a slam-dunk for the Spartans and finished with four points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. East led in rebounding 32-31.
SC concludes the regular season on Saturday at Wheeling Park.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.