Trojans lock up top seed in Senior Night sweep
For the second time this season, the No. 3 Trojans found themselves trailing at the half to South Gibson but another strong second half kept the Dyersburg winning streak alive as the black and gold dominated the third quarter on the way to a 67-58 win on Senior Night in the Terry Glover Gymnasium at Dyersburg High School on Tuesday night.
With the win, Dyersburg moved to 20-3 on the year – all 20 in a row following an 0-3 start – and secured the regular season District 13AA title and the top seed in the upcoming district tournament at Troy late next week.
“It was a big night,” Dyersburg head coach Blaine Mahaffey said. “I am very proud of the guys and they should be very happy with what the did.”
Mahaffey credited the trio of seniors – Brandon Williams, Kevin Spencer and Niko Mann – as being a key factor for the Trojans in the comeback as well as the entire season.
“It’s been our seniors and it’s going to continue to be our seniors,” Mahaffey said. “They’ve answered the bell a lot this year.
“Obviously, without those three, we wouldn’t be sitting right here.”
At South Gibson High School back on Jan. 20, the Trojans went into the lockerroom trailing by four and on Tuesday night the deficit was twice that. But, with four points from DaMarr Ward and a three-pointer from Brandon Williams, Dyersburg cut the deficit back to one point quickly in the third quarter. Niko Mann put the Trojans back in front for the first time since late in the first quarter with a layup then Williams extended the lead to 40-37 after a jumper. But, with Williams heading back to the bench in foul trouble, South Gibson finally got back on the board to cut it to one before a Mann bucket put Dyersburg back out in front by three. The Hornets stung the Trojans with four points by Nathan Hicks to retake the lead but only for 14 seconds as Nate Spivey hit a late three-pointer to give Dyersburg a 45-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“It’s happened all year,” Mahaffey said of players like Spencer, Mann and Spivey leading the Trojans in the third quarter. “Brandon’s carried us all year when others have been in foul trouble.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors.”
After Spivey added another bucket early in the fourth to extend the lead to four, a shooting foul sent Dylan Robbins to the line for South Gibson where he missed the first attempt. But, the ball was rebounded by Dyersburg as though it were a bonus and play moved to the Trojan end the of the court before Mann drew a foul. It was at that point South Gibson head coach Mark Wilkins alerted the officials to the mistake. The referees met briefly then with Mahaffey and Wilkins before Robbins was allowed to shoot the second free throw. The Hornets added two more free throws from Gabe Martin to cut it to one but the Trojans got two free throws from Spencer and a three-pointer from Williams to push their lead to six. Though Robbins answered with a trey of his own, the Trojans got a layup from Spencer and free throws from Ward and Mann to counter a Hornet freebie and keep their six-point lead. With the Hornets forced to foul for possession in the final two minutes, Dyersburg hit 7-of-10 from the line to counter six South Gibson points before a Mann layup sealed the win for the Trojans.
“What our guys did tonight and what we were able to do – give ourselves a chance and an opportunity to claim the No. 1 spot – I can’t say enough about our guys and how they’ve improved,” Mahaffey said. “I can’t say enough about our seniors and what they’ve meant to our program.”
Mann led five Trojans in double figures with 16 points while Spencer added 14 and Spivey added 13. Williams and Ward each added 10 in the win.
Dyersburg girls 62, South Gibson 36
The Lady Trojans led by only nine at the break but a dominating third quarter set the tone for the second half as Dyersburg pulled away for the 26-point win.
“It was a better game for half of it,” Dyersburg head coach Joel Ayers said. “And, for half of it we were a little lethargic and a hangover from not playing as tough as we needed to in some spots.”
The Lady Trojans (20-5, 7-2) trailed only once during the whole game as a 6-0 run by the Lady Hornets in the first quarter put Dyersburg down by four. A Faith Sherrow three-pointer opened a 12-2 Dyersburg run through much of the frame and was capped by a Cloe Messer bucket as the Lady Trojans took a 14-11 lead after one.
Dyersburg’s lead moved to double figures early in the second quarter following a three-pointer from KK Howard. South Gibson cut it to six at one point in the frame, but three points from KK Howard and another Messer putback at the buzzer gave Dyersburg a 28-19 lead at the half.
South Gibson managed to stay within seven points early in the third quarter before a Mari-Hanna Newsom tally opened up a dominating run – led by a dozen points from Samariah Thompson – which saw the Lady Trojans’ lead swell to 51-25 following a Newsom three-pointer at the end of the frame.
With both teams clearing their benches in the final eight minutes, Dyersburg’s reserves kept pace with South Gibson 11-11 to seal the win.
“It was nice in the third quarter to have a lot of effort and play a little better,” Ayers said. “That leads us into some areas where we want to go.”
Thompson led the way for Dyersburg with 14 points while KK Howard added a dozen. Newsom chipped in 11 in the win.
Tuesday night’s win sets up a matchup on Friday which could have some bearing on the District 13AA standings as Crockett County will need a win against the Lady Trojans in order to have a chance of wrestling the second seed away from Dyersburg.
“Friday night’s game will be one where if you play like we did in the third quarter, you have a good chance to win,” Ayers said. “But, if you play like you did in the first half, you’ll have an uphill battle.
“Each game, you’ve just got to go out and do a lot more stuff right than you did wrong. You’ve got to have great effort. You’ve got to cover some mistakes up with some hustle and I thought we did that in the third quarter tonight.”
Dyersburg travels to Alamo on Friday night as tipoff for the girls game against Crockett County is set for 6 p.m.
“You’ve got to have that energy every time you walk on the floor,” Ayers said. “We’ve just got to make sure we show up and have that effort, energy and toughness going into Friday night.”