December 11, 2009 10:04:00 AM
Immanuel Christian coach Billy Thomas got something more out of a pair of underclassmen during Thursday night''s game against Starkville Christian School.
Sophomore Ross Moore had 17 points to lead the Rams and junior Justin James added 12 points to defeat the visiting Cougars 50-44.
James had a pair of baskets and two free throws to get the fourth quarter started, then Moore had five-straight points to give Immanuel a 39-35 lead with 4 minutes and 16 minutes remaining in the game.
"Ross is just a kid that hustles," Thomas said. "He plays both ends of the court hard. He just doesn''t ever stop.
"Justin is the only returning starter from last year. He''s almost averaged a double-double all year. I think there''s been one game where he didn''t get a double-double. He''s been our bread and butter this year."
Even with the Rams getting the scoring of Moore and James, Starkville Christian came back to tie the score twice in the final 2 minutes at 42-42 on a basket by Micah Little and 44-44 on two free throws by Caleb Jordan.
Immanuel (6-4) scored the final six points of the game with two baskets by A.J. Johnston and two free throws by Moore.
James was happy to see the Rams come away with a victory, but concerned about trailing the Cougars 10-2 in the first quarter.
"It wasn''t one of our best games," James said. "With the way we played at the end, we''ve got to play that way the whole game. We can''t just do it at the end of the game and expect to get by.
"We couldn''t do anything the whole game and finally we started clicking."
Starkville Christian (2-5) was left wondering what might have been, but coach Scott Cappleman believed he got the best effort of the season out of his squad.
"They left everything on the floor and that''s what we''re looking for," Cappleman said. "I think that''s why we had muscle cramps and we tried to give some guys some breaks so they could get back in. I couldn''t be more proud of them as far as effort, hustle and determination."
Cappleman said the difference was free-throw shooting as the Cougars left some points on the court by only hitting 8 of 20 off the line.
Chris Koehn, Little and Jordan had 10 points each for Starkville Christian.
"Chris played a good game as always, but some other guys like Ethan Willers (six points) stepped up and Caleb Jordan played outstanding down the stretch so those guys made a great contribution," Cappleman said. "In the first half, Micah hit some critical shots so it''s an all-around good effort from all of the guys.The last two games have been really good as far as seeing progress as a team overall."
n Immanuel 53, Starkville Christian 17 (G): The Lady Rams overcame a slow start to dominate the Lady Cougars.
Starkville Christian (2-5) jumped out to a 3-0 advantage with 5:30 left in the first quarter, then Immanuel (8-5) turned to the press and outscored the Lady Cougars 11-2 for the remainder of the quarter to secure an 11-5 lead.
"The press killed us and that''s when it started to go downhill," Starkville Christian coach Kate Little said."You have to make passes to your own teammates first. We made silly passes to the other team where maybe they thought the person was open. You can''t do that against a really quick team and they were a really quick team."
Coach Jenny Hutcherson said the Lady Rams are quicker on defense when they apply the press. She was also happy to see the shooting percentage go up as the game progressed.
Nyki Baudoin had a double-double for Immanuel with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Bailey Edwards led the scoring with 16 points and Katy Whitten Davidson added 10 points.
It was the team effort Hutcherson wanted.
"(Edwards) got warmed up and she''s one of our scorers," Hutcherson said. "When she''s hot, our whole team follows behind her. She''s one of our go-to girls and she''s a driver. She''s a very aggressive player.
"Katie Davidson is also one of our go-to girls and she''s got to score in order for us to win and Nyki Baudoin does also."
Anna Lea Little had eight points to lead Starkville Christian, while Mary Grace White added seven points.
Little likes the progress of the Lady Cougars, who are in their third year of existence, but realizes there''s still a long way to go.
"They try, but they are beating themselves up to try and get better," Little said. "They want to get better, but it''s everything that comes into play with the mental game. The mental game kills us most of the time and that''s just part of becoming a program. You can practice all you want, but if your mental mind is not there, you''ll fall apart."
The Immanuel junior varsity girls also dominated Starkville Christian 39-6 as Taylor Baudoin and Haley Good had eight points each.