By BEN WAIT
MABEN — It was another David and Goliath moment for the West Oktibbeha High School boys’ basketball team, but this time the story held true.
The Timberwolves downed Noxubee County 72-54 to get revenge from an earlier loss to the Tigers. Kendrin Yates scored 28 points to lead the Timberwolves who never trailed.
“Big ballers show up in big ball games and we owed them,” Yates said. “We let them get away last time we played them. We let them get away one time when we were up at half 20 points, but we had to bury them this time and we couldn’t let them go.”
The Timberwolves, who improved to 8-2, opened up the game on a 13-2 run to set the tone early. The Tigers, which fell to 6-4, only scored two more points in the first quarter. Yates finished off the first quarter on a 5-0 run to give the Timberwolves an 18-4 lead.
“Yates is a competitor,” West Oktibbeha head coach Danny Crawford said. “He hates for another guy to out do him and that keeps him going. He is a good talent; he rebounds strong, awesome on the offensive end. That’s a great player to have. He just keeps getting the ball and coming up big.”
The Timberwolves went to a full-court press early in the first quarter to tire down the Tigers. That press would lead to turnovers and the Timberwolves would take advantage of them.
“They have got two good guards who are their main scorers so we figured we would press them and we could tire them out at the end,” Crawford said. “They weren’t hitting a lot shots down the stretch so the strategy worked.”
The Timberwolves have had two losses on the season all coming in overtime and to bigger schools. They played like a team who was not intimidated by a bigger school that had already beaten them.
“It was big,” Crawford said. “We talked about before the game getting these big wins like the 5As and 6As Columbuses and 4As Noxubee County; getting those wins on our record. That was important to my kids. We thought we should have beat them in the West Lowndes Tournament but we came up short, so my kids were proud to get a win against 4A school.”
The Timberwolves took a 34-18 lead at intermission and never looked back. Yates and his teammates were more than prepared for Tuesday’s night game.
“All of them worked excellent because they worked hard at practice,” Yates said. “We condition everyday, even today. We were prepared for them.”
Dantaveous Crawford had back-to-back dunks late in the fourth quarter to ice the game for the Timberwolves. Closing out the game was something Crawford hoped would come midway through the season.
“It’s the 10th game of the season and there is only one team to score 60 points against us and that was Noxubee County in double overtime,” Crawford said. “Our team play defense and that’s the secret to West Oktibbeha; we play good sound hard-nosed defense.”
Yates had a lot of momentum and believes that it will carry over in their next game when they host their own tournament this Friday night.
Lavontis Smith chipped in 17 points while Evrick Collins added 12 and Dantaveous Crawford scored 10.
Noxubee County 44
West Oktibbeha 32
MABEN — The Lady Timberwolves would play good defense but it was not enough to overcome the Lady Tigers.
The Lady Tigers never trailed and used good defense early on to build a 10-4 first quarter lead. Jaslyne Bedford lead the way for the Lady Timberwolves with 14 points. She scored all but one of their first quarter points to give them a chance.
The Lady Timberwolves used a 7-4 run to end the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 16-11.
Head coach Marcus Johnson did not look at this game as a win or loss.
“I thought my girls played tremendous,” Johnson said. “I put in a new defense yesterday and I think we worked it well. Noxubee is 4A and that was good experience for us. I am proud of my girls; we played good defense and we held them down.”
Free throws were the Lady Timberwolves down fall as they missed double digits foul shots. They had several chances to inch closer but could not execute from the charity line. Johnson took note of that and may try some different things in practice.
“We are going to work a little harder on that. I guess I work a little hard on free throws because we can make them in practice but not in a game,” Johnson said. “We will be ready.”
The Lady Timberwolves outscored the Lady Tigers by one point in the fourth and found their groove late in the game.
“If we had another quarter, we would have beat them,” Johnson said.
They will be back in action Tuesday night when they host Williams Sullivan.