New Hope sophomore Tre Doughty (34) tries a 3-pointer against Caledonia senior Jarvis Leigh (5) during the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game at Caledonia. The Trojans beat the Cavaliers 78-52. Photo by: Theo DeRosa/Dispatch Staff
December 2, 2020 12:14:06 AM
CALEDONIA -- Presented with an opportunity, Caleb Parr drove down the middle of the lane and tried a dunk, only to watch as the basketball bounced hard off the back of the rim.
But the New Hope junior didn't have to rue the moment long.
His rebound bounced into the hands of teammate Eric Caldwell, who leapt to corral it near the free-throw line. Caldwell's jumper from there glanced lightly off the rim and dropped through the net.
"Anytime you get those hustle plays, as a coach, you like stuff like that," New Hope coach Drew McBrayer said.
The second-quarter possession in Tuesday's road game at rival Caledonia wasn't particularly impactful -- it simply extended New Hope's lead to 26 points -- but it was an excellent summation of the contest: The Trojans (2-0) gave plenty of effort in a dominant 78-52 win over the Cavaliers (2-3).
"We just feel like we came out hard and came out pushing ourselves, making good passes and everything," sophomore guard LJ Hackman said.
New Hope blazed its way to a 48-25 halftime lead before cooling a bit in the second half, scoring 30 points in the third and fourth quarters. Five 3-pointers helped pace the Trojans to the early advantage, as did defensive stops leading to scores in transition.
"I thought we played with great energy in the first half -- really got after them defensively, and (that) led to some easy baskets for us," McBrayer said.
New Hope's strong outside shooting, a solid interior game and its stingy defense posed problems for a young Caledonia team led by coach Tony Seals, previously a Trojans assistant.
"If you go out and defend them, they go by; if you don't defend them, they shoot 3s," said Seals, innately familiar with the workings of his new rival's offense. "That's what they do. They're good at it."
The Cavaliers, returning just one starter -- point guard Jarvis Leigh -- couldn't stop it, though they matched the Trojans in the third quarter as each team scored 20 points in the period.
Leigh and Jeremy Emerson tied for the team lead with 16 points apiece.
"We made a few strides tonight," Seals said. "We had a little trouble keeping them in front of us. But I've seen them play -- everybody else does, too."
The Trojans took advantage of a balanced scoring effort to win Tuesday. Hackman led New Hope with 16 points, while Jorden Edwards had 15. Parr added 12, Ty Crowell had 10, and Caldwell had nine.
"It's good knowing that if one of us has a bad night, we have other players on the floor who can go score," Parr said.
So far, New Hope -- even after losing nine seniors, including RL Mattix and Jaylen Smith -- hasn't run into problems in its first two games. But with three contests on the schedule in each of the next two weeks, the Trojans will soon see what they're made of.
"We're going to find out real quick now what it's like to play in a bunch of ballgames," McBrayer said.
Caledonia girls 53, New Hope 46
When the New Hope girls began to fight back in Tuesday's game at Caledonia, Cavaliers senior Allison Pennington knew what her team had to do.
"We just had to get in their face more," Pennington said.
That meant closing out on the Trojans' 3-point shooters and cutting off drives before they reached the basket to keep New Hope at bay. Caledonia held on for a 53-46 win to improve to 3-2 on the season.
"They have worked so hard, and they are starting to see it play out," Cavaliers coach Ame Walker said.
Walker, previously an assistant with the New Hope middle school girls team, took over for Gary Griffin at Caledonia this season. So far, she's seeing results, but Tuesday was different: It came against players she knew well.
"It's difficult to come in and coach against kids that you coached in junior high," Walker said. "It's never fun to see anybody lose that you'd invested in their life, but that's the way it falls sometimes."
That's certainly how it fell Friday as Caledonia earned a rare win over New Hope.
"It felt good, because I don't think we've beat them in the past," Pennington said. "We've worked hard to get where we are."
New Hope fell to 1-1 on the season with the loss. The Trojans are still getting used to things in the opening stages of their season, coach Nick Christy said.
"It is still early -- it's only our second game -- but I definitely expected us to come out and execute at a higher level," Christy said. "That goes on me. That goes on them."
After getting out to an early 6-0 lead, New Hope's offense ran cold for nearly a quarter while Caledonia essentially scored at will. The Cavs built up a 28-17 halftime lead, and it was enough.
"They played hard, and they made shots when they needed to," Christy said. "We didn't. We had plenty of open looks with nobody near us and couldn't get them to go."
Pennington, who finished with 20 points, took advantage of New Hope's deficiencies rebounding and defending. So did senior Libby McMurphey, who had 11 points on three made 3-pointers. One of the triples came on a key second-quarter possession after the Cavs collected multiple offensive rebounds to keep the ball alive.
"She is our hot hand, usually," said Walker, who noted that Caledonia made an adjustment in Tuesday's practice to get McMurphey more open looks. "Libby is that kid who's going to always be in the right place at the right time."
Prep Girls Basketball
Tuscaloosa Academy (Ala.) 52, Heritage Academy 32
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Heritage Academy girls basketball team lost Tuesday's road game at Tuscaloosa Academy (Alabama), 52-32.
Lucy Sharp had 12 points for the Patriots in the loss.
Heritage Academy will host Oak Hill Academy on Thursday in Columbus.
Pickens Academy (Ala.) 53, Coosa Valley Academy (Ala.) 18
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- The Pickens Academy (Alabama) girls beat Coosa Valley Academy (Alabama) 53-18 in Tuesday's home game.
Kate Wilkins had 16 points for the Pirates. Lily Lowery and Audrey Fondren each had eight, and Baylee Jaynes and Elyse Dean had six apiece.
Starkville Christian 39, Hebron Christian 30
Prep Boys Basketball
Tuscaloosa Academy (Ala.) 63, Heritage Academy 40
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Heritage Academy boys lost Tuesday's road game 63-40 to Tuscaloosa Academy.
Mack Howard led the Patriots with 13 points, and Trey Naugher had 11.
Hebron Christian 43, Starkville Christian 30
PHEBA -- The Hebron boys beat Starkville Christian in Tuesday's game in Pheba.
Dash Turman had 18 points for the Eagles in the win.
Hebron's next game is Thursday against Calhoun Academy at home.
Pickens Academy (Ala.) 60, Coosa Valley Academy (Ala.) 24
CARROLLTON, Ala. -- The Pickens Academy boys evened their record with a 60-24 win over Coosa Valley in Tuesday's home game.
Rafe Brown led the Pirates (1-1) with 14 points. William Parker had 13, and Drake Lowery had 10.
Pickens will face Tuscaloosa Academy at home Saturday.
Prep Girls Soccer
New Hope 2, Neshoba Central 1
NEW HOPE -- The New Hope girls soccer team beat Neshoba Central 2-1 on Tuesday in New Hope.
Reagan Presley and Allie Grace Sanford each scored for New Hope. All three goals from both teams came in the first half.
Prep Boys Soccer
New Hope 3, Neshoba Central 2
NEW HOPE -- Trey Parnell had two goals as the New Hope boys beat Neshoba Central 3-2 in Tuesday's home match.
Christian Juarez added a score for the Trojans.
New Hope's next match is Thursday at home against Columbus.
Theo DeRosa reports on high school sports and Mississippi State softball for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.
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