Choctaws remain unbeaten with win at USJ
A slow start was quickly forgotten as a strong second-quarter effort helped the Dyer County boys move to 6-0 on the season with a 70-60 win over the University School of Jackson on the Bruins home floor on Friday night.
“The thing that really makes that exciting is that we haven’t played a home game yet,” Dyer County head coach Derek McCord said. “I thought we did a good job of moving the ball tonight.
“The ball didn’t stick and it kept going topside. We had some good passes tonight and I thought the whole bunch did a great job of getting the ball inside to Rico.”
Trailing by five at the end of the first quarter, the Choctaws stormed back in the second frame, getting four points from Rico Quinton as part of a 6-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. Though USJ rallied back to retake the lead briefly, the Choctaw offense got another good run sparked by a three-point play by Tray Swift which saw Dyer County take a 25-21 lead with 3:04 left in the half. The Bruins got three points from Wesley Carlock to cut the lead to one again, the Choctaws got a three-pointer from Josh Livingston to open an 11-0 run to end the frame capped by a Darnell Williams trifecta to give Dyer County a 36-24 lead at the break.
A pair of three-point plays by Quinton opened the second half and pushed the Choctaw lead to 42-24 with 6:56 left in the third quarter. The Choctaws pushed their lead to as much as 21 points later in the frame before USJ battled back with a 12-2 run to end the frame and cut the Dyer County advantage back to 55-44 heading into the final frame.
The Choctaws put the game out of reach early in the final frame, opening the fourth with a Quinton bucket that sparked a 9-2 run that helped seal the 10-point win.
“Defensively, we watched a lot film on them,” McCord said. “They did a good job handling our pressure but I still thought we got our hands on a lot of passes and a lot of loose balls.
“I can’t say enough about the job Jefhry Taylor is doing running our offense.”
McCord added the Choctaws were a combined 12-of-14 from the free throw line against the Bruins.
“Give these guys credit – they’ve been staying after working on free throws,” McCord said. “It’s paying off.
“It’s paramount. When you go on the road, you’ve got to make the chip shots and you’ve got to make the free throws.”
Quinton led the way for Dyer County with 34 points while Livingston added 15.
USJ girls 84, Dyer County 67
The Lady Choctaws continue to struggle shooting as well as with turnovers as Dyer County hit only two three-pointers during the 17-point loss at USJ.
“Our full-court press, at times, was their best offense,” McCord said. “We didn’t get back and they were quicker than us in nearly every position.
“For whatever reason, we continue to struggle shooting the ball.”
The Lady Choctaws led only once during the contest, getting a pair of Ciara Taylor free throws to take a 2-1 lead with 6:24 left in the opening frame. But, six straight points from Ashton Hulme sparked a 13-3 run by the Lady Bruins to help USJ take a 26-15 lead at the end of the first frame.
Dyer County was able to cut back into the lead during the second frame, getting six points each from Amaria Pugh and Alexis Akins as well as five more from Alea Russell to counter 10 points from Emily Jones and six more from Hulme to trim the deficit back to 46-37 at the break.
With nine points from Emily Jones and five more from sister Olivia, the Lady Bruins pushed their lead back to nearly 20 points after three quarters, taking a 65-49 advantage into the final frame.
The Lady Choctaws had one last surge in them, getting six points from Katelyn Anderson and a driving layup from Amaria Pugh to cut the Lady Bruin lead to 10. But, USJ ended the game on a 9-2 run through the final 100 seconds of action to seal the win.
Pugh led the way for Dyer County with 27 points while Anderson added 17.
USJ was led by Emily Jones, who scored a game-high 33 points in the Lady Bruin win. Hulme scored 21 while Olivia Jones added a dozen.
“Emily Jones, tonight she was the best player on the floor and USJ is always tougher at home,” McCord said. “She looked so fast and her speed made us look slow.
“We looked slow on defense and we looked slow on offense. We’ve got to find ways to get quicker.”
McCord added after losing starting center Ariana Patterson last week to a knee injury in practice, the team has struggled rebounding the last couple games.
Dyer County returns to the court on Monday when the Choctaws and Lady Choctaws travel to Paris to face Henry County at 6 p.m.