February 21, 2013 1:18:37 PM
The magic finally ran out Tuesday night for the New Hope High School boys basketball team.
Coming off back-to-back one-point victories en route to a region championship, New Hope suffered through a cold-shooting first quarter and couldn't muster enough defensive stops in a 58-48 loss to Yazoo City in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A North State tournament in Columbus.
Chris Mosley had a team-high 15 points for New Hope (16-12), while Jaylon Bardley added 14. But those two were the only Trojans who reached double figures. Bardley had New Hope's only field goals in a first quarter that saw the Trojans go 2 of 12 from the field and commit two turnovers. New Hope also had trouble with 6-foot-7 center Clarence Johnson, who blocked one shot and affected at least two others in the first eight minutes.
"It wasn't very good, and it was the difference in the ballgame," New Hope coach Drew McBrayer said of his team's first quarter. "Any time you let a team like that, especially them, get a lead on you and you have to fight and claw and try to get your way back, it is tough, especially as patient as they are."
Yazoo City (22-9) capitalized, bolting to a 14-5 lead that held up virtually the whole way. The Indians held the lead thanks to a motion offense that spread five players and relied on constant cutting. The strategy worked the Indians' speed advantage, as they exploited driving lanes, drew help defenders, and passed for layups for most of the final three quarters. A spread floor also created lanes for the Indians to score two offensive rebound putbacks in the first quarter.
"We said we had to get a good start because after we got that lead we played even from then on," Carlyle said. "Just about the time I thought we were getting over the hump, they came back with a flurry or shots and they hit some threes."
New Hope, which rallied to beat West Point and Oxford by one point in the Class 5A, Region 2 tournament last week, fell behind by as many as 16 before trailing 31-17 at halftime. The lead ballooned to 16 again in the third quarter before New Hope made a charge. Bardley scored on a layup off a turnover, hit a 3-pointer, and scored on another layup off a turnover to cu the deficit to 35-26 with 4 minutes, 58 seconds left in the quarter. LaDarius Drain (18 points) responded with a layup off a pass on a drive and converted the three-point play to kick the lead back to double figures. Mosley answered with two free throws to cut it back to 10, but Johnson affected another shot, a drive to the basket by Mosley, that could have helped the Trojans cut deeper into the deficit.
"I thought they did a good job of fighting to get back in it, but we couldn't make enough plays down the stretch," McBrayer said. "We couldn't get another stop to get over the hump."
Yazoo City maintained a double-digit lead nearly the entire fourth quarter. It hit 9 of 10 free throws late once New Hope started to foul, and finished 10 of 15 for the quarter.
Derrick Little (game-high 19 points) punctuated the victory with a dunk off a steal. He came down hard after he was fouled, but he recovered to finish off the three-point play.
"They are good, and they can shoot it," Carlyle said. "I know they might have been a little off tonight, but I respect them because they can shoot it. I saw tape on them and I was scared to death of them. The way we play our zone it limits your shots and you can't get them that quick. It was a good team we beat tonight."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.