The 10th-ranked Choctaws saw a 17-game winning streak come to an end on Friday on the road at Munford, while the Lady Choctaws entered the contest on a three-game skid. To say both squads were ready for the district encounters is an understatement.
The Lady Choctaws led 36-25 at the half before a 31-point eruption in the third quarter led to a relatively easy, 80-48 district victory over the Lady Cardinals.
Dyer County head coach Derek McCord said that the days since the losses on Friday were spent getting back to what the two squads do well.
"We had a couple of good practices working on fundamentals and really getting after it," said McCord. "I think what we worked on showed up in both games. We're not going to get too excited about these games, but it was nice to get a pair of wins."
In the opener, while it appeared the Lady Choctaws were in total control, the visitors stayed close early. Dyer County led 7-5 with 4:25 left in the period before the game's leading scorer, Sara Owen, drained back-to-back 3-pointers to start an 11-2 run over the final four minutes to lead 18-7 after one. Teammate Courtney Maupin also added two 3-pointers during the period as well.
After heading to the half by the same margin, 36-25, the Lady Choctaws turned up the intensity with defensive pressure that Brighton simply had no answer for in the third period. The result of the effort was more than a handful of turnovers that DC converted into points.
A 31-11 advantage in the third quarter led to a 67-36 lead to start the final quarter and the rout was on. Over the final eight minutes, McCord pulled back the reins when things could have gotten much worse.
Owen led the Lady Choctaws with 16 points that included three 3-pointers, sophomore Makayla Enochs had countless rebounds to go with 12 points, and Maupin rounded out the double-digit scoring with 10.
Eeonna Jackson and Olivia Crane were solid as well, finishing with nine points each, while freshmen Haley Hicks and Kaylee Luckett finished with eight and seven points, respectively.
"I thought we really shared the ball well tonight and we got out and ran the floor," added McCord. "I told them at the half that it was a lot more fun to run, and I thought they did a better job of doing that in the third when we scored 31 points."
In the boys' game, the outmanned Cardinals entered the lion's den and got bit hard by a determined Choctaw squad. Brighton has dealt with tough games throughout the season due to losing players transferring from Munford to Covington, but their effort was worth praising according to McCord following the 100-39 Choctaw victory.
"You've got to give Brighton credit because they never quit and played hard for four quarters," said McCord. "They've had to deal with some adversity this year, but they continued to play hard all the way to the end."
Dyer County (19-2) only dressed 10 players and all of those scored points during the blowout. Sophomore D'Michael Smith had the best game of his career against the Cardinals, coming off the bench to lead four players in double figures with a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Robert Hubbs III chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Jamaal Ahmad and LaMarcus Mosley combined for five 3-pointers and finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Choctaws led 24-8 at the end of the first quarter and 60-13 at the half before cruising in the second half to the 61-point, 100-39 victory.
Though the games were district ones, they simply served as a prelude to a tenser pair of contests expected on Friday at DCHS when Hardin County comes to town.
In their first meeting of the season the Lady Choctaws won in overtime 52-48, while the Choctaws won 61-50. The Lady Cougars have won seven of their last eight games, while the Cougar boys enter the contest riding a 12-game winning streak dating back to the loss to the Choctaws on Dec.7.
"Those games are really big games and they'll be seeking some revenge I'm sure," added McCord. "We'll get back after it tomorrow and hopefully have another couple of great practices before Friday because we will need to play well in both games."