SHS boys take early lead, beat Panthers 64-50

Published 12:02 am Saturday, January 18, 2014

Straughn’s Tucker Lawless provided some needed rebounds and points for the Tigers Friday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s Tucker Lawless provided some needed rebounds and points for the Tigers Friday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn took an early lead and played aggressive throughout to claim a crucial 64-50 area victory over Southside Selma.

The Tigers drained four 3-pointers in the first period to take a 16-7 lead into the second quarter. The Panthers got back in it to cut the game to 24-18 at the break.

Coming out of the locker room, Straughn’s game plan didn’t work and it had to start forcing SSHS to foul.

Straughn led 46-34 after the third period, and held on late for the victory on Friday, which improved the 10th-ranked Tigers to 12-4 overall, and 3-1 in Class 3A, Area 2.

“We took the lead and stayed aggressive,” SHS coach Rusty Andrews said. “We hit shots. They would make a run, but they never got to us.

“That’s what we talked about,” he said. “We were going to have to make free throws, and we did.”

In fact, the Tigers were 21-for-32 from the line, while the Panthers went 14-for-23.

Because Straughn beat Southside Selma and Excel topped Opp 54-40 last night, the Tigers will need to beat EHS on Tuesday to claim the regular-season area title and the right to host the area tournament.

Straughn’s Brice Scott hit a 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first, and Rollin Kinsaul followed with back-to-back treys for a 9-4 lead. JD Driver got a jumper and made two foul shots for a 13-7 lead before Scott added another 3-pointer in teh first period.

Driver got an over-under around the basket for a 21-9 lead, and later made two free throws on a 1-and-1 for a 23-13 lead.

What Straughn began to do well as the game went on was rebound, Andrews said.

“Defensively, we rebounded tonight,” the coach said. “That’s the key for us, is if we rebound, we’re a pretty good ball club. And when we don’t rebound, we’re just an average team.”

Since the Panthers didn’t take the bait on the game plan in the third period, the Tigers started making SSHS foul them. It worked.

Driver and Kinsaul got three free throws to go at the start of the third for a 27-18 lead.

Driver made a good pass down to Scott, and Kinsaul got in a 3-pointer as the

Tigers scorched ahead 32-24.

While the Tigers were cruising on offense, Tucker Lawless had a good night on the defensive end as he utilized his height to grab key rebounds. Offensively, Lawless helped surge SHS ahead with a key 3-pointer and a tuck and drive to the basket late in the third period. By that point, SHS led 44-34 and took its 46-34 lead when Scott put in a putback.

Devin Scott got in a 1-and-1 to give SHS a 14-point advantage, and the Tigers rolled to the finish with good hustle, especially when Brennan Maddox converted on an inbound play to make a good offensive play under the basket.

Kinsaul led SHS with 22 points. Scott added 15, and Driver had 13.

Southside Selma’s Jevon Hall, whom Straughn couldn’t stop, along with Willie Andrews had 16 points each.

In B-team action, the Tigers fell 44-43 in overtime to the Panthers.

The game was tied 42-42 at the end of regulation. Ethan Wilson made a 3-pointer, but SSHS made essential free throws late to tie the game with 7.4 left in the fourth.