In the first game of the evening, the host Eagles lost to Memphis Central by a score of 63-53.
It was the first game back for Eagle head coach Lennies McFerren after four years away from high school basketball.
"I am breathing all right," said McFerren. "It feels good to be back in basketball. I have to credit the kids for giving me the energy to keep on going. The kids are energizing me and without them I couldn't do it."
Memphis Central used a swarming defense to cause 18 NMCC turnovers on the night. The Warriors executed a 2-2-1 full court press and trapped when the Eagles dribbled into the corners.
NMCC trailed 28-23 heading into halftime and McFerren knew that the first game of the season would be a learning curve for his Eagles.
"Our kids are just learning the system and they had some trouble beating their press," said McFerren. "We are just learning where to be on the floor at certain situations."
The Warriors jumped on the Eagles early in the third quarter as Reuben Clayton, a 6-foot-3 junior for Memphis Central, delighted the crowd on a baseline lean-in dunk. Clayton killed NMCC all night as he hit on three 3-
pointers and led the Warriors in points with 17.
The Eagles trailed 50-35 heading into the fourth quarter and looked like a beaten team. But a McFerren coached team is known for its pressure, and the Eagles put a press on the Warriors at the start of the fourth quarter.
NMCC set up a 1-2-2 press that seemed to disrupt what the Warriors attempted to accomplish. Kimball hit two more three-pointers in the fourth quarter and the Eagles seemed to be gaining some momentum.
However, the 15-point deficit was too much to overcome even though NMCC outscored Memphis Central, 18-13 in the fourth. The Warriors held on to defeat the Eagles 63-53.
Besides Clayton's points, Trey Payne had 11 points, Cid Harrell, Chris Ivy, and Travis Thompson all had nine points for Memphis Central. Ivy led the Warriors in rebounding with 12.
Kimball led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points and senior Shaun Newsom chipped in with 12 points. Newsom also led NMCC in rebounds and assists with six and four respectfully.
NMCC (0-1) faced Byhalia, Miss. on Saturday while Memphis Central faced the Charleston Bluejays. Results of both games were not known at press time.
MEMPHIS CENTRAL (63) - Clayton 17, Payne 11, Harrell 9, Ivy 9, Thompson 9, Davis 6, Franklin 2. FG 19. FT 9-18. F 14. (3-pointers: Clayton 3, Harrell 1, Payne 1. Fouled out: none).
NMCC (53) - Kimball 15, Newsom 12, Washington 8, Williams 8, McIntosh 7, Gates 2, Long 1. FG 16. FT 9-13. F. 16. (3-pointers: Kimball 3, Newsom 1. Fouled out: none).
The second contest in the classic featured Vashon versus the Pine Bluff, Ark. Zebras. The Wolverines got off to a slow start as they only outscored Pine Bluff 13-9 in the first quarter.
Vashon turned up the heat in the second quarter and outscored the Zebras 27-14 in the quarter and went in at the half up 40-23.
The Wolverines came out of the locker room after halftime and turned up the heat, another notch. Vashon went on a 19-0 run until Pine Bluff scored with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
During the run, Vashon put on a dunking display as 6-5 All-American senior Bobby Hill, caught an alley-oop for a rim-rattling dunk. Vashon forced a turnover on Pine Bluff's next possession and 6-4 senior Brian Roach was found all alone on the baseline, as he took the pass and threw down a two-
hand thunder dunk.
Vashon cruised from the third quarter on and defeated Pine Bluff, 68-40. Leon Powell had a nice night for the Wolverines as he scored 17 points, blocked eight shots and grabbed five rebounds. Hill scored nine points, hauled down 10 rebounds and had five assist.
Albert King and Marcus Murray led the Zebras with eight points apiece.
|VASHON (68) -||Powell 17, Hill 9, Doss 8, Walker 8, Washington 7, Harris 5, Cannon 4, Roach 4, Davis 2, Hobbs 2. FG 22. FT 14-18. F 10. (3-pointers: Walker 1, Doss 1, Cannon 1. Fouled out: none.)|
|PINE BLUFF (40) -||Murray 8, King 8, Hobbs 6, Medcalf 4, Prater 4, Daniels 3, Strain 3, Smith 2, Harris 2. FG 10. FT 14-16. F 14. (3-pointers: Murray 1, Strain 1. Fouled out: none)|
The Bell City Cubs played their much awaited first game of the year against the West Memphis, Ark. Blue Devils in the Riverbend Classic's third contest. The Cubs ran into an athletic team and lost the game 61-47.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 17-11 lead after one quarter. Led by 6-foot
-7 senior point guard Jason Henry, West Memphis used a ball-hawking, man-
to-man defense to force 14 Bell City turnovers in the first half of action. West Memphis outscored the Cubs 22-14 in the second quarter and led 39-25 heading into halftime.
The Cubs rallied in the third quarter, as sophomore guard Nick Niemczyk nailed three 3-pointers late in the third, and Bell City climbed back into the contest and trailed 48-40 going into the fourth quarter.
West Memphis started to trap in the second half and the Cubs seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. Will Bogan, a 6-10 center for the Cubs, scored 10 points, but the Bell City guards had trouble getting the big man the ball.
The Blue Devils outscored the Cubs 13-7 in the fourth quarter and won the game, 61-47.
Niemczyk led the Cubs with 13 points while Bogan, Liggins and Gross scored 10 points apiece for Bell City.
Bogan did grab 13 rebounds and blocked four shots. Liggins led the Cubs in assists with four.
For West Memphis, senior guard Cantrell Mosley led the Blue Devils in scoring with 19. Henry scored 12 points and led the team in rebounding and assists with five respectfully.
West Memphis 61, Bell City 47
WEST MEMPHIS (61) - Cantrell Mosley 19, Jason Henry 12, Chris Clark 10, Elijah Cotton 9, Brian Brown 2, Jeremy Brown 2, Unzzie Turner 2, Frank Medlock 2, Ken Geter 1. FG 24. FT 10-18. F 12. (3-pointers: Mosley 1. Fouled out: none).
|BELL CITY (47) -||Nick Niemczyk 13, Jeff Liggins 10, Will Bogan 10, Phil Gross 10, Kerry Lasters 2, Marty Dames 2. FG 18. FT 2-6. F 22. (3-pointers: Niemczyk 3. Fouled out: none).|
In the final game on Friday night at the Riverbend Classic, the Charleston Bluejays defeated the Byhalia, Miss. Indians 78-70.
The game was the most entertaining of the night as the Bluejays used a nice inside-out game, to take down the Indians.
"That is our game," said Charleston head coach Danny Farmer. "We have four guys on the perimeter and one player down low in the post. If the post man can not score, he simply kicks outside for the jump shooter."
The Bluejays got excellent production from their guards as 5-foot-9 junior Shawn Sherrell and 5-8 freshmen Antonio Riggens, combined for 24 points and 10 steals.
"Shawn is a super point guard," said Farmer. "Antonio is only a freshman and we threw him out there to see if he could play with that type of pressure."
The Bluejays raced out to a 23-15 lead after one quarter thanks to the inside play of Jamarcus Williams and the outside shot of Justin Clark. On the night, J. Clark hit four 3-pointers and Williams scored 16 points down in the post and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Indians were not going down without a fight and were led by their own special point guard in 5-3 junior Demarius Moore. Moore was equal to Charleston's Sherrell and had 22 points, four assist and two steals in the game.
Moore liked to dribble drive to the basket and shoot the 10-foot jumper or he passed down to the post to 6-4 sophomore Cordell Jefferson who scored 18 points.
Charleston led 40-35 at halftime and pushed the lead to 10 after the third quarter, 62-52.
The Indians closed the gap to within four late in the fourth quarter thanks to play from 6-4 senior Adarryl Richmond, who thrilled the crowd with a lean-in one hand throw down.
The Bluejays regained a comfortable lead thanks in part to their vaunted pressure defense, Charleston forced 19 turnovers in the game and Sherrell had nine steals by himself.
Charleston won a hard fought early season contest, 78-70.
"I was looking for effort in tonight's game," said Farmer. "We played a team who wouldn't quit and played extremely hard. We got out looks on the jumpers and we hit the shots when we were open."
Sherrell and J. Clark led the Bluejays in scoring with 17 apiece.
Senior forward Josh Thompson had a solid night scoring nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists.
Besides Moore and Jefferson, Richmond scored 15 points from the bench and guard Jeremy Lucas scored 12 hard fought points. Jefferson led the Indians in rebounding with 10, while Lucas secured seven rebounds.
While pleased with the victory, Farmer found areas to improve on for the Bluejays.
"We need to work on game situations," said Farmer. "The kids have got to understand where they need to be in certain situations throughout the game."
BYHALIA (70) - Moore 22, Jefferson 18, Richmond 15, Lucas 12, Craine 3. FG 29, FT 9-13, F 12. (3-pointers: Craine 1. Fouled out: none).
CHARLESTON (78) - J. Clark 17, Sherrell 17, Williams 16, Hamilton 12, Thompson 9, Riggens 7. FG 26, FT 5-12, F 12. (3-pointers: J. Clark 4, Hamilton 2, Riggens 1. Fouled out: none).