Though the Holy Innocents’ hoops squads were in two different places over the break, both came away with similar successful results in ending the year on a high note.
Terry Kelly’s boys traveled to Memphis for the Holiday Hoops Tournament where they won the consolation championship. They fell to powerful Millington Central in the opening round, but rebounded for wins over Brighton High and Fayette.
On the girls’ side, Tony Watkins girls hosted the Peach State Classic where they had a bye in the first round before topping Newark (OH) in overtime and falling in the finals to Blackman (TN). Blackman is ranked No. 22 in the nation.
Starting with the boys, sophomore Sam Asbury led the squad in scoring with 13 points in the 53-45 Millington loss. “We got outscored 21-5 at the free throw line,” Kelly summarized.
Asbury again led the following night with 16 in the 70-35 shellacking of Brighton. Ed Voyles followed with 14 points and eight rebounds. “Ten of our 12 players scored in this one,” Kelly said. “Our defensive pressure was impressive, holding a high-scoring team to 29 percent from the field.”
The consolation championship saw the Bears win a 42-40 nail biter, with Josh Ledbetter putting in a layup with 2.7 seconds left on the clock off of a great pass from Darryl Stewart. Ledbetter with 15 points and eight rebounds; Stewart put in 13 and added six assists.
The girls first game saw HIES edge Newark 70-62 in OT. Coach Watkins had several step up in the win. “Reshaundra (Owens) and McKenzie (Bolden) played like seniors and the Cassell sisters (Erika and Lexii) were very good. Sydney Long also put in some good minutes off the bench.”
Erika scored 18 points and grabbed 16 boards while Owens followed with 14 points and seven rebounds. Bolden scored 10 and passed off six assists; Long had four steals.
In the finals, Watkins expressed optimism despite the 66-32 loss. “I thought we were a little shell-shocked from the opening tip. We didn’t play our best game, but this will make us a better team down the road for sure.”
Erika Cassell led the scoring with 11; Owens netted 10 and had eight rebounds.
Both teams will be in action at home Tuesday, Jan. 8 against Strong Rock Christian.