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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Choctaws survive against Chargers, 62-60

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dyer County's Robert Hubbs III throws down the first of his six dunks against Westview on Friday night at the Martin Shootout.
MARTIN -- Dyer County head coach Derek McCord had a couple of concerns prior to the start of the Choctaw contest against Westview on Friday at the Martin Shootout.

One of McCord's main concerns was the fact the fast and furious Choctaws were playing without starters Jamaal Ahmad and Markeston Bostic due to injuries. The other was the fact his short-staffed squad was facing a senior-laden, 3-point shooting talented Charger squad.

McCord's concerns were warranted as both played major factors during the contest.

DC's Malik Pugh glides to the basket in the first half of the 62-60 victory.
However, with Robert Hubbs III and teammate LaMarcus Mosley firing on all cylinders, the Choctaws held off the talented Chargers, winning the contest in thrilling fashion, 62-60 in the final game of a long day of hoops action.

"We were very fortunate to win the game. Westview returns a wealth of experience and they played with a lot of confidence and they played really well against us," said McCord. "We played a lot of younger players and it was a good experience from them to grow up a little bit."

While the younger players gained some valuable experience in a close game, Hubbs and Mosley stood out and showed out for the Choctaws from start to finish.

Hubbs finished with 29 points that included six dunks and an 11-of-14 performance from the field. The Tennessee signee was 7-of-8 from 2-point range and 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. Hubbs also led the team in rebounds with 11 and dished out five assists.

Mosley was on fire in the first half from long range, connecting on four 3-pointers that the Choctaws desperately needed to answer the barrage of long range bombs from the Chargers. Mosley cooled off in the second half before finishing with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists.

"I thought Robert and LaMarcus were really big for us out there and we really needed them to play that way," added McCord. "Robert was pretty much dominant around the basket and LaMarcus provided a spark from outside."

The first quarter was one where the loss of two starters was evident. The Choctaws, playing at a slower pace than usual, fell behind 17-12 midway through the period. Toward the end of the quarter, a 3-pointer and two free throws from Hubbs trimmed the deficit to a basket at the end of the period as DC trailed 19-17.

In the second quarter, DC guard Malik Pugh drove the lane and lifted the Choctaws in front 25-24 for the first time since the early stages of the contest.

A thorn in the side of the Choctaws in the first half was Westview's Tyquis Johnson. The left-handed sharpshooter put the Chargers back in front 28-25 with a trifecta from the right corner.

The momentum was short-lived though, as minutes later Hubbs threw down his second dunk of the half and Mosley drained a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the half. With under a minute to play in the half, another dunk and a 3-pointer from Mosley put DC in front 38-31.

Just when it seemed the Choctaws were on the edge of putting the game away, Johnson drained a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to keep the Chargers within striking distance, though trailing 38-34 at the break.

"We just couldn't put them away," said McCord. "Every time we got a pretty good lead, they would make a big shot and stay right there with us."

The second half was just as close as the first. The Choctaws opened the half making more of an effort to get the ball to Hubbs, and the results were two power dunks to start the third quarter as DC went on top 42-36 with 6:30 left in the period.

The Choctaws never led by more than seven points in the period as Westview continued to hang around thanks to baskets from Antonio Hogard and Jazell Baker.

Near the end of the quarter with DC leading 53-46, Baker drained a long 3-pointer to bring the Chargers within four headed to the fourth 53-49.

DC got into foul trouble in the second half, forcing McCord to slow things down with four minutes remaining and a 59-57 lead as Westview remained locked in a zone defensively.

"We wanted to force them to come out of it. We had a couple of guys in foul trouble and we just slowed it down a little bit," he said.

The move nearly backfired when a errant 3-point attempt from the Choctaws allowed the Chargers the opportunity to knot the game. Fortunately for DC, Baker missed both free throws after being fouled.

The Chargers were able to knot the game at 60-60 however, before Hubbs' final basket of the game with 20 seconds left sealed the victory for DC after Johnson's desperation attempt fell short.

The Choctaws faced Bolivar late Saturday. Due to an early press time, results will appear in Tuesday's edition.

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