Yoemen continue to build momentum


Nobody likes to lose.  However, if you were the Yoemen last Friday night, you knew it was going to be an uphill battle on the road at the number four-ranked team in 3A basketball.


For three of the four quarters, it was a neck-and-neck battle with the scoring advantage favoring Cameron by two points.  However, the second quarter was all Jarrell, which included a 31-11 scoring run in what was the difference in a 80-60 win.


“We got hot and had a good run there, and then we played even most of the rest of the game,” said Jarrell head coach Drew Sumner. 


Most of the game Cameron (3-4) had to keep up with Jarrell, who has the top scoring offense in the district.  Yoe forward LaRondre Booze made his presence felt early and often, scoring the first eight points for Cameron. 


Jarrell (7-0) followed with a trifecta of 3-pointers and led at the end of one, 17-15.  Cameron could not keep up to begin the second as the Cougars went on a 7-0 run.  All seven points came from guard AJ Smith. 


“He was hitting it inside and outside,” said Sumner.  “It’s nice for a kid to hit some outside 3-pointers, but it’s nice for him also to hit some inside shots.”


Smith added: “It was my time to get hot and we performed real well.  We had time to pass it out and in and I got to play my game.  We worked as a team.”


Cameron cranked up their aggressiveness in the second half with the full-court press.  Cameron outscored Jarrell in those final 16 minutes, 34-32. 


“The press was effective in the second half when we were in trouble,” said Yoe head coach Ed Glendening.  Give Coach Sumner and Jarrell all the credit.  They made shots and they did things right.”


“Those guys feed on energy and tempo,” added forward Kevondre Wesley.  “We love to go and we wish we could go fast every game.  When we have chances, we need to push it.”


Most of Cameron’s offensive production came inside, where Booze, a sophomore, had 17 points, and Wesley, a senior, had 11. 


“We understood matchups at the moment and who we could take off the dribble and who was inside,” said Wesley.  “We just took advantage of it.  They started to close down a little bit, but was stayed aggressive.  Dre especially, feeding him in the post.  He was making good shots and made things happen for the rest of us.”


Danny Perez had 12 points for Cameron while May added seven.  Booze finished just two rebounds shy of a double-double with eight. 


Thought it was a loss, the performance against one of the state’s best should prove to be a momentum builder for the second half of district action. 


“In the locker room, we were talking about not losing another game,” said Glendening.  “The way we played in the second is the way we know we can play.  We’re positive about what we’re going to do.”



For Cameron to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2011, a home win over Hearne on Tuesday night from Yoe Gym was a must.


Cameron had won this very game - 70-64 - in the first go-around in 20-3A play, but it was Hearne that was one game up in the ever-important district standings. 


By the end of the night, Cameron (4-4) bumped their record back to .500 with 62-59 win - putting both teams back on level ground. 


Neither team created much separation on the scoreboard until the fourth when Cameron went up 59-50 with just over three minutes remaining. 


Cameron had good ball movement late and generated quality looks inside as Perez’s eight and Booze’s seven in the late stages helped create the separation. 


“Our kids attacked and did everything we asked them to do,” said Glendening.  “We are proud of the kids and the sweep over Hearne is huge.”


Hearne closed the gap to three late thanks to some timely steals and poor free-throw shooting from the Yoemen.  Cameron was just 1-6 in the final seconds of the game.


“We did a great job of breaking the press and moving the ball,” said Glendening.  “But, when they start fouling us we have to convert.”


Wesley did have a good night from the free-throw line.  The senior hit all seven of his eight free throws in the first half to give Cameron a 28-26 edge at the break. Cameron finished 20-30 from the free-throw line. 


Booze led the Yoemen in scoring for the second straight game with 17 points.  Wesley had 15 and Perez had 14.