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Solid final quarter lifts DC past Harrisburg

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dyer County's Malik Pugh earned MVP honors after scoring 18 points and dishing out eight assists against Harrisburg, Ill. on Friday night in Newbern.
Dyer County figured to face a tough task when facing undefeated Harrisburg, Illinois in the final game of the 2nd annual Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest on Friday at DCHS.

Though the visitors proved to be a formidable foe, in the end the quickness and talent of the Choctaws led to the 17th win of the season for the fast and furious ones.

Behind a superb performance from Choctaw guard Malik Pugh, as well as solid contributions from Robert Hubbs III, Jamaal Ahmad and Markeston Bostic, Dyer County snapped Harrisburg's 16-game winning streak with a 76-68 victory.

Penny Hardaway presented Malik Pugh with the MVP ball after the victory over Harrisburg.
Pugh was a force early and often during the contest, driving past defenders for easy looks at the basket that resulted in the speedy guard finishing with 18 points. Pugh was 7-of-9 from the field and dished out eight assists as well to earn game MVP honors.

"Malik was really big for us tonight. He took care of the ball and put a lot of pressure on them for four quarters," said DC head coach Derek McCord. "He was able to get to the rim and he was very effective driving to the basket."

The Choctaws continued to shoot the ball well on Friday, connecting on 31-of-55 attempts for 56 percent, while Harrisburg made 26-of-60 for 43 percent. Both teams ended the contest with 16 turnovers and the visitors easily outrebounded the Choctaws 39-23.

DC sprinted out to an early 13-7 lead in the first quarter when Mosley tickled the twine on a 3-pointer from NBA range with 3:30 left in the period. The Choctaws led by as many as nine in the quarter, 23-14, before Harrisburg's Justin Young drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the DC lead to 23-17.

The highlight of the first half came early in the second quarter and courtesy of Hubbs when Bostic flipped a behind the back pass to the talented Tennessee signee in transition. Catching the ball in the paint, Hubbs gave the crowd of over 1,500 what they came to see. Hubbs elevated and threw down a nasty one-handed slam that brought the crowd to its feet and lifted DC in front, 27-19.

Harrisburg showed no quit throughout the half, instead began chipping away at the deficit before eventually knotting the contest at 34-34 with two minutes to play after a basket in the paint from Eli Taborn-Scott.

The Choctaws held the momentum at the half though, thanks to a Harrisburg turnover with four seconds left in the half. On the inbounds play, the ball ended up in the hands of Bostic and the senior made the most of the last-second 3-pointer. The basket lifted DC in front 38-34 at the break.

The visitors returned the favor however to end the third quarter. After the two squads battled back and forth for the entire eight minutes, DC held a 54-53 advantage in the final seconds before Harrisburg's Bahri Amaya fired up a desperation half court shot that dropped to lift the visitors in front 56-54.

Just as they did a night before though, the Choctaws looked to Hubbs and Ahmad to deliver in the clutch and the two seniors didn't disappoint. The duo combined for 16 points in the period and DC rode the momentum of a 6-0 run in the period to improve to 17-1 overall with the 76-68 final.

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