An enthusiastic crowd greeted a much-improved Lady Choctaw squad in the opener and the youthful unit responded in fine fashion to show their appreciation.
Behind a game-high 23 points from sophomore Sara Owen, Dyer County started strong and never let up, winning the season opener in lopsided fashion, 71-49.
"Tonight was a great one for both our teams and I thought the atmosphere in our gym was just fantastic," said DC head coach Derek McCord. "We're not going to make too much out of it, but the way we played in both games sure gives us a reason to be excited and looking forward to getting the season under way."
In the opener, the Lady Choctaws used a smothering defensive effort to force 27 Middleton turnovers, a stat that had McCord feeling pretty good following the 21-point victory.
"That's the way we want to play on defense and the girls did a great job tonight pressing the ball and causing turnovers," he said. "We want to play fast, and while we were pretty quick out there tonight, we can and will play faster."
An unselfish effort offensively produced a balanced scoring attack that resulted in three players finishing in double figures. In addition to the 23 points from Owen that included a 9-of-10 performance at the charity stripe, Makayla Enochs added 14 points and eight rebounds. Junior Chelsie Spence came off the bench and provided a spark, ending the contest with 13 points and eight boards as well.
The Lady Choctaws opened the game on a 7-0 spurt before leading 13-7 at the end of the quarter. In the second period, a 3-pointer from the top of the key from Owen lifted DC in front by double digits, 21-11, with 4:16 left in the half.
Two free throws from Owen and a stick-back from Enochs in the final seconds of the quarter lifted DC in front 33-18 at the break.
In the third period, Middleton outscored DC 11-3 over the first three minutes of the quarter before the Lady Choctaws answered the challenge. Leading 36-27, DC sprinted out on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Owen and Spence to put the game out of reach with a commanding 46-27 advantage.
The two squads scored 15 points each in the final period as DC rolled to its first victory of the season.
In the nightcap, a tenacious defensive effort by the fast and furious Choctaws forced 31 Middleton turnovers in a contest that, for all practical purposes, was over at the half.
"I thought defensively our ball pressure was really good and a lot of our offense in the first half came off of the defense. That's the way we try to play the game and when we play the way we did tonight we can be pretty tough," said McCord.
Hubbs and the rest of the starters were removed early in the third quarter and never took the floor again.
Hubbs led four players in double figures for the Choctaws with 16 points, all of which came in the first half and included two crowd-pleasing dunks. Fellow senior Lamarcus Mosley had three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points, Markeston Bostic added 10 and freshman Derrion Cliff chipped in with 11, with all of those coming in the fourth quarter.
Just missing double figures for DC were Malik Pugh and Jamaal Ahmad, who finished with nine points each.
As a team, the Choctaws connected on 34-of-62 attempts from the floor that included a 9-of-14 performance from 3-point land, and 12-of-the-15 players that saw minutes recorded points in the contest.
The Choctaws held a 25-12 lead at the end of the first quarter before upping the 13-point advantage to 27 at the half by leading 52-25.
In the second half McCord eased up on the press but the damage had been done as DC rolled to its first win of the season, 89-60.