February 20, 2009
Danny P Smith -
SALLIS -- Four years after leaving West Oktibbeha, Thomastown coach Michael Huffman found a way to beat his old school and eliminate it from the Class A State Tournament.
Thomastown had five players score in double figures in a 77-70 victory at McAdams High School.
"Our kids have battled," said Huffman, who was at West Oktibbeha from 2000-05. "We''ve got the talent, but we''ve got to cut out the mental mistakes. If I can get my kids to play defense, we''ll be OK."
Thomastown (20-10) built a 4-0 lead in the first quarter and never gave it up. The Bulldogs stretched a 17-15 lead after the first quarter to 34-27 at halftime and 51-44 after the third quarter.
The Timberwolves (13-12) cut the margin to 57-55 with 4 minutes, 8 seconds remaining on a 3-pointer by Zachary Townsel, but could not get any closer.
"Coach Huffman did a good job with his kids, and they were prepared to play," West Oktibbeha coach Joseph Landfair said. "They continued to play even when we cut the lead down and didn''t fold. They came right back and played good ball."
Kareem Hughes (28 points) and Townsel (26 points) led the Timberwolves.
"We should have done a little better," Hughes said. "We missed a couple of free throws which we should have made. We didn''t get enough rebounds, offensive or defensive. We had a good season, but should have went farther."
Deon Bedford (11 points) also scored in double figures for West Oktibbeha, but only two other players on the roster scored.
That was not enough to offset the scoring by Eddie Luckett (19 points), Eric Beamon (16), Marcus Henry (16), Derrick Clark (12), and Cortavius Ferguson (10).
"We were unable to defend the basket," Landfair said. "Their size made the biggest difference. They were more stronger overall. We tried hard and thought we gave our best shot for four quarters."
Landfair and his players agreed getting beat on the backboards was a major factor and why the season ended prematurely.
"If we could have gotten more rebounds, it would have worked out a little better," Townsel said. "We worked hard and wanted to go to Jackson, which is something we''ve never done. Hopefully, we''ll come back stronger next year."