Straughn advances, 71-40

Published 12:11 am Saturday, December 29, 2012

Straughn advanced to the fifth place game of the Red Level Christmas Tournament with a blowout win over Opp Friday afternoon, trouncing the Bobcats 71-40.

The game was neck-and-neck throughout the first half, but Straughn head coach Rusty Andrews’ halftime speech must have struck a chord with his players, as the Tigers put their foot on the gas and never looked back in the second half.

Straughn’s Rollin Kinsaul opened up a 5-0 lead early in the game with a three-pointer from the corner, but moments later, consecutive threes by Opp’s Manderious Mount and JaKeith Edwards gave the Bobcats the lead, 10-8.

Opp continued to pour it on to close out the first quarter of play, going on a 10-0 run to bring the score to 14-8 at the end of one.

Edwards hit another three-ball to open up the second quarter, and Opp’s lead was now pushed to 17-10.

That’s when Straughn decided to turn things up defensively.

The Tigers dialed up a full court press that noticeably disrupted Opp’s rhythm and Straughn began to go on a run of their own.

Another corner-three from Kinsaul brought the Tigers to within one, then J.D. Driver grabbed his own miss and made a floater from the middle of the lane to give Straughn the lead, 21-20.

The rest of the half was largely uneventful until the closing seconds.

Brennan Driver caught a pass at the top of the key and nailed a three to beat the buzzer to give Straughn the lead going into the half, 30-26.

Coming out of halftime, one had to wonder if Driver’s buzzer-beater set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Tigers started the second half at a furious pace, turning turnovers into points and outscoring the Bobcats 25-2 in the third quarter.

Straughn big-man Hobie Hughs made things tough on Opp, using his height advantage to create easy lay-ins.

The improved play down low from Hughs paired, with several deep threes from Brice Scott, proved to be too much for the Bobcats, and Straughn held a 55-28 lead at the end of the third period.

The fourth quarter featured a running-clock, as a comeback was well out of reach for Opp, and the game ended with a final score of 71-40.

Hughs ended up with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Scott finished with nine points and seven assists, and Driver had nine points and 10 boards.

Straughn moves on to play in the fifth place game today at 1:30 p.m.