A NEW HOPE – This is how the New Hope High School boys’ basketball team behaves when they are not at their best.
The Trojans placed three double-digit players, punctuated by LJ Hackman’s 23 points, and built double-digit leads every quarter before finally walking away for good. In a streak in which they missed a dunk and failed to convert a pass layup to an alley-oop, they still ran 11-2.
So one night, coach Drew McBrayer and the night’s top scorers agreed not to show the Trojans at their best, they went out anyway and recorded a 78-54 victory over Noxubee County on Tuesday night. .
“It got really sloppy tonight, really brittle,” McBrayer said. “I thought there were a lot of fouls that dictated the flow of the game and honestly took us out of the rhythm of our game. We normally play a lot slower than that.
It was a 9-point game early in the fourth quarter when the Trojans began to take command. A technical foul after a personal foul on the Tigers pissed off the home crowd, and it only got worse after Hackman made 3 of 4 free throws to take the lead to 60-46. A 14-1 run followed, fueled first by two nice moves along the baseline for the baskets of junior goalie Matthew Stennis and then by the streak that ultimately blew up the Trojans’ gymnasium roof: a Shot blocked by Issace Grady on one end which led to a smooth Caleb Parr layup on the other to give New Hope a 70-49 lead with 2:20 to go.
Seven players scored in the fourth quarter for the Trojans, a fact that did not go unnoticed by Parr.
“Everyone has had their moments to ramp up,” said the senior goaltender, who finished with 18 points, including 10 in the third quarter. “I stepped up, my teammates stepped up, the crowd got down to it. It was not a particular point, it was the whole.
The lack of fluidity in the game, especially in the first half, was the result of the whistle, McBrayer said, noting that things changed after the intermission.
“All the fouls in the first half slowed the pace down, and I think they kind of figured out that the game was taking too long and stopped whistling in the second half, and it really became fast, ”he said. “We like to play fast and go up and down the floor, but I thought we were a little sloppy tonight.”
McBrayer was also disappointed with the defense at times, particularly in the second quarter when, punctuated by 10 points from senior forward Davontaye Boone, the Tigers outscored the Trojans 21-17 to start the half with a delay of 35-28.
“We struggled a bit on the defensive end in the first half,” said McBrayer. “We did a better job in the second half but gave them way too many easy baskets. We’re normally much better defensively than that.
During the first three quarters, the Tigers did not let the Trojans take the lead. Whenever it looked like New Hope (6-2) would retire, Noxubee County buckled up and didn’t let it happen.
The Tigers were 11 behind after a quarter, and 2 minutes into the second they were down 19-15. The lead came back to 12 when Parr scored with an assist from Jackman pushing the ball to the ground with 1:21 left in the first half, but the Tigers scored 7 of the last 9 points of the second quarter to keep it. close.
A 13-point lead midway through the third quarter had fallen to 50-43 thanks in large part to Rapheal Harris and Boone, who finished with 17 points despite playing most of the game with four fouls while Harris led the Tigers with 20.
“Normally we get on the pitch and play fast and push the tempo and blow up teams that are really not at our level,” said Parr, acknowledging that games against Noxubee County are always physical.
This ultimately happened in the fourth quarter as the Trojans kicked off the racing match. New Hope’s 23 points in the fourth quarter came from either free throws or layups.
“Normally we do a race and we put it away, and normally that race is in the second or third quarter, not that late in the fourth quarter,” said McBrayer. “We’re very explosive at times when we can get into a beat, and we only picked up the pace late tonight.”
“It was one of those things,” Parr said. “We played sloppy, but we were still in control. “
Matthew Stennis finished with 11 points for New Hope, while Grady and TJ Warren each totaled 9.