Second-ranked Trojans cruise to 18th straight win

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Dyersburg boys took their newly minted No. 2 ranking out on the road to Medina on Tuesday night and returned to home with a 65-45 win over South Gibson in District 13AA action.

“It was a good road win,” Dyersburg head coach Blaine Mahaffey said. “It was good for our kids against an opponent that was ready to play and well-prepared.

“Our kids came out early and I thought we did a good job of setting the tone early. Just happy for our guys.”

The win moves the Trojans to 23-1 on the season with a perfect 9-0 mark in 13AA.

While getting a late-season win at the site of next week’s District 13AA Tournament at South Gibson High School is important, Mahaffey added district road wins are big in 13AA.

“Anytime you can go win a district game in our league on the road it’s good,” Mahaffey said. “Whether it’s the first week of district play or the last week of district play – it does not matter.

“And, obviously, at this time of the year, teams are playing their best basketball. They’ve been together for a while and they understand everything that is expected. Getting to play over at South Gibson where our tournament is going to be, we’re fortunate to do that.”

Mahaffey stressed it had no bearing on Tuesday night’s game.

“You’ve still got to go over there and play,” Mahaffey said.

The Trojans set the tone early as four first-quarter three-pointers – one each from Brandon Williams, Kevin Spencer, Jordan Mosley and D.J. Swift – helped the Dyersburg boys get the advantage early. The Trojans ended the first frame on an 11-3 run as Spencer’s three-pointer gave Dyersburg a 22-12 lead at the end of the first frame.

The Trojans’ momentum carried over into the second frame as Swift added to his nine first-quarter points with a jumper early in the frame as part of a 9-1 run to build the Dyersburg lead to 18. The Hornets cut the lead back later in the frame to 11 points after a Max Hansbrough’s bucket opened a quick 6-0 run by a late DaMarr Ward layup gave Dyersburg a 35-22 lead at the end of the first half.

The two teams were evenly matched to start the second half, but a Mosley three-pointer late in the third frame led to a stretch where the Trojans outscored South Gibson 10-2 in the final minutes to take a commanding 53-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

Dyersburg’s advantage swelled to as much as 25 points during the fourth quarter after a Zach Morgan layup and a pair of Spencer free throws as the Trojans cruised to their 18th straight win.

Swift led the way with 19 points in the win for the Trojans while Morgan and Mosley each tossed in a baker’s dozen.

Dyersburg shot 52 percent from the floor (27 of 51) including 9 of 15 from beyond the arc. Dyersburg committed only four turnovers while forcing the Hornets to commit a dozen.

The win comes without starter Jadrius Jenkins and reserve Tristan Haymon, who were not in the lineup for the Trojans.

“We had a couple guys out and guys stepped up and played,” Mahaffey said. “It was one of those deals where it’s a long season – there’s going to be ups and downs. For different reasons, people have got to step up and play and we had that happen tonight.”

While Friday night is the second of two Senior Night celebrations for Dyersburg High School – this one honoring the Lady Trojans and the dance team – Mahaffey adds it will be an important night for the Trojans as well.

“It’s the last regular season game for them as well,” Mahaffey said. “I hope if people haven’t had a chance to see us play, they need to come watch us.”

Dyersburg girls 48, South Gibson 42

In many of the Lady Trojans’ five district losses, it seemed as though the Dyersburg girls were just one step away from getting the 13AA win.

With the Lady Hornets surging back in the second half against the black and gold girls on Tuesday night in Medina, Dyersburg took that step, holding off the South Gibson girls to take the six-point win.

The Lady Trojans held a six-point lead coming into the second half but the Lady Hornets got buckets from Gabbi Helton and Christen King as well as two free throws from Tatum Russell to counter a Faith Sherrow free throw and cut the Dyersburg lead to 24-23. Sherrow pushed the lead back to three with a bucket later in the frame, but the Lady Hornets battled back to take the lead with a Russell jumper. Dyersburg responded with back-to-back layups from Denisha Emerson to help the Lady Trojans take a 32-31 lead into the final eight minutes.

South Gibson took the lead back early in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Trojans got a strong performance from Essence Bailey in the final frame, getting 11 points from the senior which helped the Lady Trojans take a 44-36 lead late in the game. A Brianne Armstrong three-pointer was the Lady Hornets’ first and only trey for the game and was followed by an intentional foul to Sarah Grace Scott – where she hit one of two – and a Russell bucket to cut the Dyersburg lead to 44-42 with under 20 seconds to play. A foul with 14 seconds left in the game sent Sherrow to the line where she hit both, then Bailey sealed the win with her 10th and 11th points of the frame as Dyersburg took the important district win.

Bailey led the way for the Lady Trojans with 15 points and six rebounds while Sherrow added eight in the win.

While South Gibson took the slight edge in rebounds (23-20), Dyersburg won the turnover battle, forcing 10 while only committing seven.

The win improves Dyersburg’s record to 17-9 overall and, more importantly, 4-5 in 13AA and in fourth place. If the Lady Trojans can keep that seeding after Friday night and their showdown with Crockett County on Senior Night for the Dyersburg girls, the Lady Trojans will be at home for the play-in game for the 13AA Tournament.

The Trojans and Lady Trojans will close out their regular season at home on Friday night when Dyersburg welcomes Crockett County for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.

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