Strong High School (Ark.) did not play as its name suggests Wednesday night in the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump Tournament.
Instead, it was the Starkville Yellowjackets that were strong from start to finish and came away with a 74-27 victory.
The Bulldogs did not play that way and the Yellowjackets took advantage of that.
The Jackets set the tone early opening the game on a 9-0 run. Strong was able to score, but then the Jackets went on a 21-5 run to end the first quarter and take a 30-7 lead. Starkville put a lot of defensive pressure on Strong early in the game to make the difference.
"That is something we worked on last week," SHS head coach Greg Carter said of the defensive pressure. "And it paid dividends early on for us. They didn't handle it very well and it led to a bunch of easy baskets."
The Jackets stop a two-game slide with the victory. Starkville had lost its last two games when they competed in the Joe Horne Classic in Columbus.
Carter did not let his team dwell on those losses and urged them to move on.
"We had to get back to work and get back to basics," Carter said. "That was the biggest thing getting back to basics; defending and rebounding, doing what we did to be where we were in the first place. That was basically our mindset. We weren't down, depressed or anything like that."
Starkville led 50-13 at the break, and came out in the third quarter with its starting five. That all changed midway through the quarter when Carter emptied his bench and let his starters have the rest of the night off.
It was something that Carter was happy for, especially since there are two more games in two more days.
"It feels good," Carter said of subbing in for his starters early on. "We have got two games left in this tournament and to be able to rest the starters in the first game makes you feel good as a coach going into that next game."
Strong did not score on back-to-back possessions until late in the third quarter and did not score back-to-back field goals until early in the fourth quarter. They were led by Stetson Billings with nine points. The Bulldogs will play East High School (Tenn.) today at 6 p.m. in the Hump.
Starkville was led by Jacolby Mobley with 15 points and Tory Rice with 14. Mississippi State signee Gavin Ware had six points in a short night of work. The Jackets improved their record to 11-2 for the year.
Starkville will be back in action today at 7:30 p.m. when it plays Carroll (La.).
Carter was able to catch a glimpse of Carroll Wednesday in its win and believes it is very good.
"They are going to be tough," Carter said. "They are going to try to play fast, trap, they'll zone. They do a lot of different things. They have a couple of kids that can shoot it real well. It's going to be a tough game (today). They looked good (Wednesday)."