Starkville Academy sweeps Hebron Christian in basketball


Willie Latham (32) looks onto the court for Starkville Academy.

By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

Starkville Academy basketball coach Bruce Allsup wanted to get the attention of his starters early in Friday night's boys game against Hebron Christian School.

When the Volunteers came out sluggish in the first quarter against the Eagles, Allsup took out his first five in favor of the second group.

Starkville Academy trailed 4-3 when Allsup made the change, but the reserves made an instant impact by going on a 7-0 run to get a 10-4 lead with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter.

Once the Vols got the advantage, they didn't give it up and went on to a 65-28 victory.

Allsup said the second unit gave some energy and it gave him a chance to challenge the starters.

Moving forward, Allsup said it's going to take everyone buying in for Starkville Academy to be successful.

"We are committed to playing 10 people and running teams in and out," Allsup said. "It's going to take both groups to get that energy that the second group had. They gave us a spark so I was pleased that they answered the challenge.

"I think we grew together as a team (Friday). We've still got some continuity things to work on as far as sharing the basketball and running some stuff. It's so early and we have such a new group."

Willie Latham came off the bench in the first quarter for the Vols to contribute seven points to the surge.

Starkville Academy went on to outscore Hebron 14-8 in the second quarter to take a 30-15 lead at halftime.

Latham said it's important to stay humble and just be ready when his number is called. He was glad to see the substitutes come in and give what the Vols needed.

"We came out with a different energy," Latham said of the reserves. "We just weren't ready to play (at the start of the game). That's on us. We've got to be ready to play each and every game we come out."
In the second half, Starkville Academy took control of the game with a 16-0 run and led by 30 points at 48-18 after a basket by Tanner Graves.

Latham and Trey Tyler had 11 points each to lead the Vols in scoring. Ben Guest and Tylor Latham fell just short of double figures with eight points each.

With the win, Starkville Academy evened its record at 2-2. Allsup likes the potential of his boys squad.

"This team has a chance to be a very good basketball team," Allsup said. "I've been doing this 30 years and I really believe this team can get better and better each time we come out.

"I've got to give Hebron credit because they came out and punched us in the mouth. I told their coach they made so much improvement and their kids played their hearts out."

For the Eagles, Gabe Harpole and Bradley Scott had seven points each.

Hebron Christian boys coach Gary Vaughn was proud of the intensity his team showed, but it left many points on the free-throw line.

"We missed 20 free throws," Vaughn said. "You've got to hit your free pitches as my old daddy used to tell me. We've got to make our shots up under the basket. We missed so many under the basket.

"Starkville Academy has a really good team. They hustle and push you to the limit. They pressure you and I have to commend them. We hope seeing top quality action like we saw (Friday night) and the competition will help us on down in the district when we get to that."

Girls Game
Starkville Academy 60,
Hebron Christian 21

Mary Peyton Passons and Lillee Alpe of the Lady Volunteers were just too much for the Lady Eagles to handle.

The two Starkville Academy players combined for 37 points and had enough production on their own to secure the win.

"When they shoot the ball well, we can be really good," Allsup said of Passons and Alpe. "We rely on them so much for offense. They are both capable of knocking down shots. They have a lot of freedom and we give them a lot of freedom to shoot the basketball. They did a good job of that (Friday night)."

The Lady Vols took a 14-5 lead after the first quarter, then expanded the gap to 30-8 by halftime on a 3-point field goal by Alpe.

After three quarters, Starkville Academy held a comfortable 50-17 advantage.

Passons scored 20 points, while Alpe added 17 points for the Lady Vols, who improved to 6-2.

"We've got a lot of work to do and a lot of things to clean up," Allsup said. "We are going to enjoy our Thanksgiving, come back, go to work and try to be as good as we can be."

Caralee Smith was the leading scorer for Hebron Christian with eight points.

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