High School Basketball: Orange 72, Chapel Hill 47

Motley’s Crew at Orange takes first place in Big 8

chnsports@newsobserver.comJanuary 12, 2014 

Motley’s Crew. That’s what spectators came away talking about in the battle for first place in the Big Eight Conference.

Not the 80’s heavy metal band that was flashy, flamboyant and spectacular, though Greg Motley’s Orange Panthers were all of those things on Friday night.

This was a basketball team with a 6-6 forward who could hit from 20-foot, a bench that goes 10 deep, and four football players parlaying their gridiron success to the hardwood.

In the end, there was no Dr. Feelgood for the Chapel Hill Tigers, who fell to the Panthers 72-47.

Keegan Crabtree finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range to pace Orange.

Andy Gillespie led Chapel Hill with 14 points, the only Tiger in double figures.

With the win, Orange (12-2, 5-0 in the Big 8) assumed first place in the Big Eight Conference by one game over Chapel Hill (9-5, 4-1).

“We haven’t played a team like that. Not even close,” said Chapel Hill head coach Lason Perkins. “There’s obviously a reason why they’re 12-2 and it showed tonight. Bottom line is, we got our butts kicked. Plain and simple.”

Orange never trailed, thanks to four first-quarter 3-pointers from Crabtree and Aaron Robinson. A trey by Jawan Chambers gave the Panthers a 20-8 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the Tigers struggled for the rest of the night. The 6-6 Crabtree finished 5-of-8 behind the arc and went inside for 8 rebounds.

“He caused major problems,” said Perkins. “Keegan got some really good looks and he just knocked them down. We started with (David) Caraher on him. We thought his length would give Keegan problems, but it didn’t.”

“Last year, he played the 3 for us,” said Motley. “This year, we’ve put him down on the blocks because he can work in the post very well. Tonight, we wanted to create matchup problems.”

While Crabtree is familiar with creating matchup problems, the core of Orange’s team is comprised of football players familiar with winning. Tay Jones (tailback), J.D. Brooks (Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year), A.J. Bradsher and Jeff Campbell (wide receiver) all play regularly in Motley’s 10-man rotation.

“It’s always a struggle in the beginning to get them back to a basketball mentality,” said Motley. “Our first game back with these guys this year, we had 45 fouls because they were still physical from football season. It takes some games to dial that back.”

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