David Lovell, first year head basketball coach at Lewisburg Middle School had a smile from ear to ear after the Tigers whipped Mt. Pleasant 46-22 to give the Columbia Academy graduate his first coaching victory.
"This feels great," Lovell said in the post game interview, "Especially because I felt the team played closer to their potential tonight than we did versus Meridian."
The Tigers (1-1) fell behind early as Mt. Pleasant's T.J. Smith led the onslaught to give his team a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. The Tigers finally scored when Jesse Kilpatrick stole the ball and fed Kevin Peterson for an easy bucket.
LMS would battle back from inside the paint with Cody Vernon scoring on a turn around and blocking two shots that stopped Mt. Pleasant from scoring down low. Peterson would do the rest as he scored on a twisting jumper in the lane that drew the all-important third foul on Smith, sending him to the bench for the rest of the first half.
Peterson stole the inbounds pass with just three ticks on the clock and laid it in to give the Tigers a lead they would not surrender the rest of the game.
Tigers man up with Smith on bench
Lovell made a decision that changed the game when he switched from a zone to a man to man defense with Smith out of the game. The strategy worked as the Tigers came right out after the whistle and caused a turnover that led to a jumper by Brock Spencer and a 10-7 lead.
Mt. Pleasant turned it over again and Aaron Thomason scored on a lay-up as the Tigers began to stalk their prey. The Tigers would go a 9-2 run to start the quarter before Mt. Pleasant called timeout, trailing 17-9 with 3:11 left to play in the half.
The timeout worked out better for LMS than Mt. Pleasant as Lovell's squad went on another Peterson led, 11-1 run to end the half with a 28-10 lead. Peterson scored 12 of his game high 18 points in the first half.
Mt. Pleasant makes run, Tigers close
the den door
The Tigers came out after the halftime break a little sloppy and Lovell called a timeout at 4:38 to tighten up the defense. Mt. Pleasant made a run to cut the score to 31-18, but Peterson ended the period with four straight points to build the lead back seventeen at 35-18.
Mt. Pleasant would not threaten again as the Tigers won going away giving Lovell and the Tigers their first win of the year.
"Our intensity on the defensive end was the key to win," said Lovell. "It was all out hustle by the guys tonight."
Besides Peterson's 18 points, Spencer had 8 and controlled the ball from the point, Brandon Bush had 6, and Vernon had 4 points, 4 blocks, and 8 rebounds. LaCord Crawford also had 4 points and Thomason, J.J. Contreras, and Barry Mayes each had 2.
Tigerettes never in synch as Mt. Pleasant wins 34-15
It was one of those games where nothing seems to go right. The Tigerettes just could not get anything going long enough to stay with Mt. Pleasant, even though they were only down by 1 point at the end of the first quarter, 4-3 and trailed by three at the half 12-9.
The first quarter was turnover laden as both squads did not take care of the ball and only seven points were scored in the period between the two schools. Keyarra Allen scored all three in the period for the Tigerettes and finished with a team high 12 points.
Lewisburg took the lead early in the second period when Devan Hasty fed Allen for a bucket to go up 5-4. Allen scored again to build the lead to three at 7-4, but Mt. Pleasant overtook the lead at 9-7. Mary Medley drew the Tigerettes back to within two points at 11-9 on a nice rebound and put-back late in the half before a single foul shot gave Mt. Pleasant a 12-9 halftime lead.
The Tigerettes were shutout in the third quarter as Mt. Pleasant outscored them 12-0 for a 24-9 third quarter lead.
Allen scored five points in the final period and Keondra Powell hit a free throw, but Mt. Pleasant took the game, 34-15.