CRAWFORD – The East Oktibbeha Titans were able to show their might in the second half Friday night.
Even though Ethel held its own for the first half in boys basketball action against East Oktibbeha, the Titans dominated in the second half on their way to a 64-50 victory.
The Tigers took a 31-28 lead into the locker room at halftime and East Oktibbeha coach Barnett Robinson lit a fire under his squad during the intermission.
"I told them we just needed to do better than what we were doing," Robinson said. "We were playing very flat at halftime. I told them at halftime we just needed to pick it up, slow down and cut down on our mistakes. Do what we were supposed to do."
The Titans responded with a 7-2 run to open the third quarter to take the lead for good. They opened up the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run to sink Ethel's hope.
"In the third quarter, the defense was still there but we couldn't find the shot," Ethel head coach Corey Parish said. "It was dominated by calls on both ends more so than letting them play a little bit. The fourth quarter hurt us bad, not blocking out and I think we got a little down when the calls started slipping away like that."
Ethel led for most of the first quarter after the two teams traded baskets to open up the game. The Tigers looked to take a lead into the second quarter, but the Titans knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 18.
The second quarter was back and forth until Ethel closed out the half on a 5-0 run to take the lead.
"First half, we shot the ball better than we probably have all year," Parish said. "I don't remember us shooting it that well. We moved it and shot it well and defensively we got after them."
Robinson noticed the Tigers effort and thought they did a good job of making his squad play their type of game.
"They were very relentless," he said. "They made us play their game in the first half and we came back out and got control of the game and cruised on to victory."
Chris Harris missed the first quarter for the Titans due to discipline reasons but came out strong the other three quarters leading East Oktibbeha with 16 points.
Devontae Lucious added 12 and Davalyn Bell chipped in 10.
The Tigers were led by Deon Hall and Corey McBride with 10 points each.
East Oktibbeha 65,
CRAWFORD – The Lady Titans used a strong first quarter to set the tone.
East Oktibbeha out-scored Ethel 22-6 in the first period to take a dominating victory.
East Oktibbeha opened up the game on a 10-0 run. Ethel finally got on the board, but it did not score again until the end of the quarter.
The Lady Titans closed out the first quarter on 12-4 run. The Lady Tigers scored their first back-to-back points right before the quarter ended.
The Lady Titans used a 1-3-1 zone as their weapon for both defense and offense.
"Better than we expected," East Oktibbeha head coach Pam Roberts said of her team's defensive play. "I wished they would have stepped it up a little more. We were trying to keep our 1-3-1 zone going because I wanted to see if they could keep it going the whole game long. But I was glad with what they did.
"That 1-3-1 zone is an effective zone and if we work it the way it is supposed to be, it gets us a lot of turnovers and we have that one man back that is always there for that layup."
The Lady Tigers used an 8-2 run to cut the East Oktibbeha lead to 11 with less than 3 minutes to go, when Rita Jackson fouled out of her second consecutive game for Ethel.
Jackson led her team with 31 points and the wind out of the Lady Tigers sails was taken with her fifth foul.
"I knew it was going to get easier for us for one thing because she had been the main scorer tonight," Roberts said of Jackson fouling out. "It was easier on us when she had to go to the bench and it is just made things a little bit better for us."
Jackson is the only returning player from a year ago for the Lady Tigers. Robertson was impressed with how well she played.
"She was really hot tonight," Robertson said. "She is a really good player. I talked to her earlier tonight and she told she is the only returning player from last year's team."
The Lady Titans got back over .500 with the win and improved their record to 9-8. Alexis Henderson led the Titans with 13, while Lydia Stevenson added 11 and Quanisha Doss chipped in 10.