Tigers sputter late in Haile meet loss

Friday, January 20, 2017

Following a late season winning streak, the Lewisburg Middle School boys received a bye in the first round of the James C. Haile Tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian School and opened the tournament against Macon County Middle in the second round on Monday night.

The Tigers trailed big in the first quarter before mounting an inspiring comeback in the second quarter and briefly taking the lead before running out of gas late in the fourth quarter and ending the season with 50-39 loss.

"I think we did well," LMS coach David Lovell said. "I mean, it's a three-point game and then they hit three three's in a row and all of a sudden we're down 12. And (the shots) were from 25 feet. And so you don't see that much in middle school and our guys weren't ready for it."

The Tigers were led by standout eighth-grader A'Ky Howard who scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the second half.

"We just didn't stay consistent on defense," Howard said. "We didn't do good on defense and we couldn't stop number 10 and all their key players. We didn't rebound good enough and if we could've fixed that I think we could've won."

Howard received help from Silas Hurt with four points, eight rebounds and four assists and Kaomil Hazel with a pair of 3-point buckets.

Macon County was led by Justin Jenkins with 18 points and Jason Brooks with 17 points on five 3-pointers.

The Tigers from Macon County jumped out to an early 9-0 lead before LMS began its comeback.

Devontae Davis grabbed on offensive rebound and scored a layup, Howard snagged a board and went coast to coast for a layup, Gannon McMahon nailed a corner jumper and Lamarion Pierce knocked down a runner in the lane to tie the game before MCMS had a chance to catch its breathe.

Hazel finished the comeback with a 3-pointer to give LMS its first lead of the game at 15-12.

Macon Middle responded with a 9-2 run of its own to end the second quarter to take a 21-17 lead into the half.

The two Tiger squads fought back and forth in the third quarter and after Howard grabbed two straight rebounds for coast-to-coast layups, the Macon Middle lead stood at 24-21 with 2:00 left in the third period.

The Tigers pulled to within a possession after another Hazel trifecta at 4:14 left in the game, but Brooks sealed the Tigers fate with three straight triples and by the time Howard knocked down a 3-point basket the damage had been and Macon Middle pulled away with the 11-point win, ending Lewisburg Middle's season.

"It was a pretty good year," Lovell said. "We didn't win as many games as we would have liked, but we did win some games towards the end of the year which to me means that we made progress and we improved so from that aspect I thought the season was successful."

Lewisburg Middle 8 9 8 14-39

Macon Middle 12 9 9 20-50

Lewisburg Middle (39): A'Ky Howard 15, Devontae Davis 6, Kaomil Hazel 6, Gannon McMahon 4, Lamarion Pierce 4, Silas Hurt 4

3-point goals (3): Hazel 2, Howard

Macon Middle (50): Jenkins 18, Brooks 17, Johnson 9, Cook 2, Clayborne 2, Whittlemore 2

3-point goals (8): Brooks 5, Johnson 3

Halftime score: Macon Middle 21, LMS 17