The River City Rivalry is supposed to be a down-to-the-wire, heart-stopping affair, but Austin High didn't follow the script Friday night.
The Black Bears jumped on rival Decatur in the second quarter and didn't let up in what turned into a 73-40 mauling at Calhoun Community College.
Austin coach Demond Garth said it all started with defense for his Black Bears, who are now 3-1. Austin forced 19 turnovers and held the Red Raiders to 39 percent shooting.
"We didn't play well offensively or defensively in our first three games," Garth said. "So we turned up our defense pressure tonight."
Decatur coach Jamie Lee said the combination of his Raiders' inexperience, a 10-day layoff and Austin's athleticism led to the loss.
"Their quickness and athleticism forced us into some quick shots," Lee said. "They got their transition game going, and we kind of got overwhelmed."
Austin grabbed a 17-8 lead in the opening quarter, but Decatur fought back into the game.
Cameron Twitty's pull-up jumper cut the deficit to 18-14 with five minutes left in the first half.
However, the Red Raiders scored two points in the rest of the half. Eric Garth's bucket sent the Bears into the break with a 33-16 lead.
Austin's Camron Reedus scored 10 of his game-high 19 points and assisted on Malique Elliott's ally-oop dunk in the first four minutes to make sure there wasn't a comeback.
Both coaches began clearing their benches late in the third quarter.
"We were just trying to keep on them," Reedus said. "We wanted to play hard and play smart so they wouldn't get any life and make a comeback."
NaVante Williams had 18 points to lead Decatur, which fell to 2-3. Twitty added 10 points in the loss.
Austin had four players in double figures with Everett Mayes hitting for 15 and Elliott and Troy Harris getting 11 each.
Lee said he believes his Raiders will give Austin a better game when the two teams meet again in January.
"I feel like this team will continue to get better, and we'll have a better feel for this game in January," Lee said.
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