LMS Tigers roar past Spring Hill
After narrowly defeating Spring Hill twice during the regular season, the Lewisburg Middle School Tigers (13-4) had a surprisingly easy time with the Generals on Tuesday night, as they rolled to a 47-27 victory at home in the semifinals of the TMSAA Area 2 Class AA tournament.
Spring Hill (12-10) had destroyed Lewis County 66-6 in the first round of the tournament three days earlier, but the Tigers controlled Tuesday's contest from the opening tip and built a 23-13 lead in the first half before outscoring the Generals 24-14 over the final two quarters to pull away for the 20-point victory.
LMS did most of their damage in the paint and shot a blistering 56 percent (19-34) from the field overall, which included a four-of-seven effort from three-point range, while recording 13 assists as a team. Lewisburg also committed just 11 turnovers and out-rebounded Spring Hill 27-10.
Forward Jay Howard and shooting guard Malek Sain both poured in 13 points to lead the Tigers' offensive attack with Howard grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Darius McKenzie tallied 12 points and six rebounds as well and Curtis Keiler had five points. D'Andre Brown and Dylan Jones both chipped in two points apiece to round out the scoring for LMS with Brown recording seven assists and six rebounds.
"I think we shared the ball and passed well tonight. As a result we got great shots," said Lewisburg coach David Lovell. "When Jay is controlling the boards and playing with energy, the rest of the guys feed off that. It lifts the whole team."
Spring Hill, conversely, mustered only 10 field goals on 26 percent shooting and hit just one-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc.
Forward Tylin Oden paced the Generals with 14 points, while Daniel Johnson added seven points.
Lewisburg knocked Spring Hill back on their heels at the start of the game and forged a 17-4 lead early in the second quarter with the help of two treys from Sain, a Keiler three, and four points apiece from Howard and McKenzie.
After the Generals used a 9-4 run to narrow the gap to 21-13 late in the second, Jones scored on a layup in the waning moments of the period to give the Tigers a 23-13 advantage at the break.
LMS then opened the third with a 6-1 spurt thanks to a pair of McKenzie jumpers and a basket by Howard to push their lead to 29-14 midway through the quarter.
Spring Hill outscored Lewisburg 9-3 over the next five minutes to whittle the deficit to 32-23 early in the fourth period, but the Tigers responded with 15-2 run behind five points from Howard and four points apiece from Sain and McKenzie to open up a 47-25 advantage with :30 left before claiming the 47-27 win.