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Trojans drop district opener in overtime

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trojan head coach Blaine Mahaffey (center) discusses strategy with his team toward the end of regulation. Dyersburg suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to district rival Crockett County on Tuesday night 64-61.
The game didn't start out well for the Dyersburg Trojans, and unfortunately the final score does not reflect the spirited fight the squad gave the visiting Crockett County Cavaliers on Tuesday night as the Trojans lost in overtime 64-61. The Cavaliers led the Dyersburg boys by as many as 11 in the first half as the district rivals played a physical game right up to the final buzzer and then some.

"We've really been pushing our guys to play with more intensity and more passion," said head coach Blaine Mahaffey. "I am very proud of our guys' effort."

After both squads kept it close for the first few minutes of the game, the Cavaliers opened up some breathing room toward the end of the first quarter, building a five-point lead 18-13. The second quarter had a bit of an ominous start as Dyersburg was driving toward the basket but an apparent foul by Crockett County caused a stoppage in play and a discussion by the officials on the nature of the foul. After a few minutes of discussion no foul was awarded and Dyersburg retained possession of the ball. According to Mahaffey, the officials ruled it an inadvertent whistle after one official thought he saw a goaltending violation but the other two did not.

The Cavalier defense gave the Trojans little room to work in the second period as they swarmed the ball, trapping the Dyersburg boys from advancing and allowing Crockett to build an 11-point lead halfway through the second period. However, the Trojans battled back and cut the Cavalier lead to just four, 33-29, by the end of the first half.

The third quarter of play saw just 14 points scored between the two squads and the Trojans cutting the Crockett County lead down to two, 39-37, but the true excitement and eventual heartbreak of the night came in the fourth quarter. Behind Deyvon Pierce, who had six of his 10 points in the game in the fourth quarter, the Trojans opened up a five-point lead with a little over three minutes to play. Although the Cavaliers continued to play Dyersburg tightly, the game seemed all but won for the Trojans, when Crockett County's Elijah Shaw was ejected after he lost his temper over a foul called against him with 2:12 left to play.

Crockett County refused to go quietly and was able to capitalize on some offensive mistakes by the Trojans down the stretch, taking a 53-52 lead with 33 seconds left to play in regulation. The Trojans took the next possession and drove the ball but the Cavaliers fouled Charles Barbee with 10 seconds left, setting up two free throws with an opportunity to win the game. Barbee made 1-of-2 to knot the game at 53-53 and send it to overtime. Unfortunately the Dyersburg boys were unable to continue the late-game heroics as Crockett County battled back in overtime after being down by as many as four to win the thriller in overtime 64-61.

"We have to fix some things on the offensive side but that's on me," said Mahaffey. "Our focus has been on playing with more intensity and we did that tonight."

The Trojans had four players in double digits with Bryce Williams leading the way with 13 followed by Barbee with 11, Deyvon Pierce with 10 and Jay Howard with 10. Mahaffey also acknowledged the exceptional defensive efforts by Wilson Armstrong and Paul House. Mahaffey says that the team is disappointed in the loss, but has little time to lick its wounds as they continue their seven-game district stretch at Westview on Friday night.

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