(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
Unlike their semifinal game, the Indians created turnovers, shot well and played their style which led to a 79-54 win over Osceola and a third place finish on Friday during the Class 2 state tournament at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
"A lot different ballgame today," Hayti head coach Philip Taylor said. "We were able to get into a flow on defense. We were able to get some turnovers and get our transition game going a little bit better."
Hayti was led by senior Hunter Turner's 18 points. Junior Maurion Newbill scored 16 and had four steals while senior Jerome Thomas chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.
The Indians, who made their seventh trip to the Show Me Showdown in school history this year winning first place once in 1983, flustered Osceola into a whopping 32 turnovers while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
"The way we teach our kids our defense is pressure all the time," Taylor said. "Stay in the passing lanes. A lot of teams normally don't see that other than where we're from. I know there's other teams that do it, but you notice a lot of the teams that we played against the last two days, they play a lot of zone, they sit back, they don't press a whole lot. I think the way that we play wears on you.
"I mean, 32 turnovers, obviously they got tired and we were able to take advantage of that."
Transition baskets led to most of the Indians' success. Hayti had 28 points off of turnovers and 34 points in the paint.
"We got the ball in the paint," said Taylor. "We didn't do a very good job of getting the ball in the paint yesterday -- we settled for outside shots. If we're hot and they're going down, you just keep rolling with it. Well yesterday they didn't fall, and today we took advantage of the fastbreak. You're going to shoot a better percentage when you're shooting the ball within five feet, and that's what we were able to do -- causing turnovers and getting the transition game started."
Newbill nailed a 3-pointer with 4:27 left in the first quarter to give Hayti, who were outrebounded 31-29, a 12-9 lead. The Indians, who had 19 steals, never trailed again.
They held a 37-26 lead at halftime and extended their lead to 54-40 after three.
By that time, Osceola looked gassed as Hayti kept swarming on defense keeping Osceola out of their rhythm.
The Indians, who began the season on a 4-6 stretch and was the fourth seed in their own district, ended their season with a 22-10 record and will graduate five seniors -- three of which are starters.
"I don't want to sound cocky about our area, but if you get out of our district, you're pretty good," Taylor said. "I mean we have Portageville, who's been here several times. We have Bernie who's been here several times. You have one of the best players in the state at Holcomb with Jamie Massey. Then you had us and an up and coming team with South Pem, I know they took some lumps this year, but there was literally five teams that could've won that district because there's that much athleticism and talent in that area."
HAYTI (79) -- Keenon Norris 8, Hunter Turner 18, Karnard Humes 2, Jerome Thomas 11, Demetrius Luster 7, Maurion Newbill 16, Jermel Covington 2, Antonio Johnson 3, Austin Watkins 3, Kenyetta Brooks 4, Frankie Burden 1, Brandon Burden 4. FG 26 FT 21-33 F 15 (3-pointers: Turner 3, Newbill 1, Johnson 1, Watkins 1. Fouled out: none.)
OSCEOLA (54) -- Timothy Powell 8, Jacob Murray 10, Dristan Self 5, Jared Pearson 10, Jordan Pearson 11, Dallas Self 5, Trevor Dean 2, Dylan Piccoli 3. FG 19 FT 13-17 F 17 (3-pointers: Powell 2, Piccoli 1. Fouled out: none.)