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March 6, 2013

Onsite Q-&-A with Shelton Mitchell's coach

Wake Forest 2014 commitment Shelton Mitchell played a key role in Waxhaw (NC) Cuthbertson's 46-30 win over a pesky Trinity team.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior point guard scored a game-high 20 points in front of Demon Deacon head coach Jeff Bzdelik, who was joined by his wife Nina and assistant coach Jeff Battle.

Cuthbertson head coach Mike Helms spoke with Deacons Illustrated and other members of the media about his team's performance, what's looming for the Cavaliers, Mitchell's development and more following the victory over the Bulldogs.

Opening statement: "Those were tough circumstances tonight. We prepared a little bit to guard that delay in case we were behind late. We didn't expect it to come early in the game and be there throughout. It's a tough thing to guard to begin with and then when you throw you it in that early and you got to guard it that long and I thought we made a couple adjustments at half that helped a little bit with it. We didn't really expect that tonight."

Coach, they kind of got you all out of your rhythm. Will you talk about how your team was able to work through it, because I got to believe that third quarter was so frustrating, because I know you all like to run? "It was frustrating earlier than that. I thought we got off to a pretty good start and playing the way we want to play, getting the game going full-court, going up and down."

"I think we got up 17-3, and they got a couple baskets and then started spreading it. I'm proud of the guys for fighting through that, because we hadn't played in a game like that ever, so we're fighting a little adversity there that we got to make some adjustments on the fly and I'm really proud of how they handled it."

What about your guys just being able to stay focused, because I know their offense, all the motion and all the cutting? That takes a lot to stay disciplined, especially from getting frustrated. "Well, I think maybe early they got frustrated and then they just kind of embraced it."

"Lu [McMillon] did a great job in the back. We asked him at halftime to be really be quarterback back talk and talk and let everybody know what's going on. He did a great job on that and covering up some of those cuts we gave up early."

"The third quarter was frustrating, because it's not how we want to play, and I respect that you have to do what you have to do to try to put yourself in position to win."

"We were talking in the third when we were getting such a long time to talk over there during those possessions that if we can get to the third or fourth quarter with a large lead we might make them chase a little bit and so that's what we did."

"Talking about the focus of it that was what we were cheering and encouraging them the whole time basically is don't let them lull you to sleep, because they'll run that and then all of a sudden they'll roll into a set and come off that screen and they're shooting a wide open three and they shoot it so well. You couldn't go zone because of the way they shoot the basketball, so you kind of just have to stay in it."

Talk about this rematch, western finals again with Shelby, a team that you faced last year and beat to get to the [state] finals. "Well, we've been following Shelby all year as I'm sure they've been doing the same. We know they have a really good team coming back. It was such a tough game last year that could've went either way. We know it's going to be a tough game Saturday. There's going to be a good team go home Saturday. It's going to be a tough game."

Tell me about what you saw from Shelton tonight, what he did well, just the way you've seen him improve. I know you've kind of had him on a limited basis this season, just 18 games, because of injury, but just maybe how you've seen him improve. "Well, tonight not forcing things, because it's easy when you're a guy like Shelton to get frustrated in a game like that, because you're wanting to be so aggressive offensively, so really just patience and offensively on that end."

"Shelton's continued to improve defensively. We give him a hard time on that end, but his defense is continuing to improve and I'm sure he'll shoot a few free throws tomorrow too."

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