Trojans avenge opening loss to Chargers

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Trojan Niko Mann goes in for a running jumper.

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

Behind a strong second-quarter performance led by Dyersburg’s senior trio of Brandon Williams, Kevin Spencer and Niko Mann, the Trojans pulled way from a three-point opening-frame lead to take a double-figure lead at the break on their way to an 80-58 win over Covington on Tuesday night in the Terry Glover Gymnasium.

Dyersburg’s Kevin Spencer shoots a jumper from the top of the key.

“The biggest thing tonight with us and our team is that our three seniors stayed on the floor the entire first half other than the couple minutes we pulled Niko out because he had a foul in the first quarter,” Dyersburg head coach Blaine Mahaffey said. “When they’re on the floor together, those three are pretty good.”

After a three-pointer and a jumper by Covington’s MJ Taylor tied the game late in the opening frame, Dyersburg ended the first quarter with the lead after a three-pointer from Williams gave the Trojans a 16-13 advantage after one.

Williams began to heat up in the second quarter with a three-pointer and a layup to go along with a DaMarr Ward bucket to open the frame with a 7-0 run. A trio of Williams three-pointers along with a pair of Spencer free throws and a Mann bucket helped Dyersburg build its lead to 18 points. With Spencer adding five more points and a three-point play by Mann, the Trojans took a 44-25 lead at the break.

Three-pointers from Williams and Malik Currie helped the Trojans keep pace with Covington to maintain their lead, staying on top by 18 at 64-46 heading into the final frame.

Dyersburg put the game completely out of reach at the start of the fourth quarter, getting five points from Williams as part of a 9-0 run to open the stanza to propel the Trojans to the 22-point win.

The win over the Chargers avenges Dyersburg’s 70-62 loss at Covington in the season’s opener back on Nov. 14.

“As coaches and a team, hopefully, you’re trying to get better,” Mahaffey said. “Our last couple of weeks have been pretty good in practice and getting better.

“Getting Kevin (Spencer) back in a little more of basketball mode has really helped us.”

The win is the Trojans’ fourth straight and moves them a game above .500 after seven games.

“If they realize they have gotten to this point by coming to practice and working hard every day, if they’ll continue to understand that and buy into one another and connect with one another, hopefully we’ll continue to improve,” Mahaffey said.

Williams led the way for Dyersburg with 31 points while Nate Spivey added 14 and Spencer tossed in 13.

Dyersburg girls 57, Covington 54

Dyersburg’s Faith Sherrow shoots one of her six three-pointers during the Lady Trojan win.

The Lady Trojans improved to 7-1 on the season, holding off a rallying Covington team in the second half to get the three-point win.

“Covington played really well,” Lady Trojan head coach Joel Ayers said of his team’s second meeting with the Lady Chargers. “They hit some shots – made four threes in the first quarter – and did some stuff that was really hard to guard.

“I told our kids that offense wasn’t the problem tonight. We have to do a better job guarding.”

The Lady Trojans were able to take a lead early in the first quarter then held it through a three-pointer from Faith Sherrow to put Dyersburg on top 13-11 with 3:09 left in the first frame. But, a pair of treys from Covington’s Kalynn Howard were key shots in an 11-3 run by the Lady Chargers to end the first frame and take a 22-16 lead after one quarter.

Covington built its lead to eight early in the second frame but Dyersburg bounced back with a KK Howard bucket and a three-pointer from Sherrow to cut the lead to six. After a pair of Howard free throws from Covington, a three-pointer by Samariah Thompson and two more from Sherrow countered a Covington bucket to give Dyersburg a 32-30 lead at the half.

After matching baskets with the Lady Chargers early in the second half, Dyersburg got threes from KK Howard and Sherrow along with a Cloe Messer putback to build a seven-point lead with just over two minutes left in the stanza. But, again, Covington rallied with a 7-2 run to end the frame and cut Dyersburg’s lead to 45-43 heading into the final frame.

Covington’s rally continued into the fourth frame, getting four free throws from Janile Alston to take the lead. The Lady Trojans tied it twice with free throws from Thompson and Messer before getting six straight points from Thompson as part of an 8-0 run to get a two-possession lead in the final minute. But, Covington’s Howard hit a three-pointer with 34 seconds left then Dyersburg failed to convert a bonus free throw allowing the Lady Chargers one last shot. The Lady Trojans defended Covington’s Howard as her shot failed to find the net then the putback came up short as well as Dyersburg took the win.

“We did things differently in phases,” Ayers said. “We started off not rebounding well but did a better job through the second quarter.

“In the second half, kinda built a lead but then had a stretch where we didn’t protect the paint and didn’t rebound well and let them get in the game again.”

Sherrow led the way for Dyersburg with 22 points while Thompson added 17 and Howard chipped in 10.

“We try to learn each day from what’s going on,” Ayers said. “Offensively, we played pretty well tonight.

“Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job of finishing plays, blocking out and rebounding. Sometimes it just takes a game to show you those things.”

Dyersburg returns to the court on Saturday when the Trojans and Lady Trojans travel to Munford for a 2 p.m. tipoff.

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