KILLEN — Brooks held Lauderdale County to just 6 points in the first half and forced 18 turnovers on its home floor en route to 49-34 opening round win in the Times Daily Classic boys tournament.
Sparked by a 3-pointer from Jacob Richardson, the Lions opened the game on an 8-0 run and held the Tigers without a field goal in the first quarter.
“We try to hang our hat on defense,” first-year coach Brian Wright said. “We understand that offense is not going to be there every night, but our kids have really bought-in to winning on defense.”
Few shots fell for either team in the second quarter, but a pair of buckets from Brady Bedingfield pushed the lead to 14-6 Brooks at the half.
Skyler Beck and Richardson each scored 6 points for Brooks in the third quarter, as the Lions opened the second half on a 12-2 run to push their lead to its largest of the game at 18. Drew Newton knocked down three 3-pointers for Lauderdale County in the quarter to make it 35-21 with eight minutes remaining.
The Tigers cut the lead to 12 points with six minutes remaining, but would get no closer, as Beck scored 5 in a row for the Lions and the team made free throws late to keep Lauderdale at bay.
“Lauderdale County is a well-coached team. We knew we were going to have to defend. I thought we did that fairly well tonight,” Wright said.
Richardson led Brooks with 13 points. Beck added 11, all of which came in the second half, and Holden Corum and Bedingfield chipped in with 9 apiece.
Newton led Lauderdale County with a game-high 14 points.
n Florence 70, Central 30: In the second game, Florence proved too much for Central in a 70-30 victory to advance.
The Falcons’ pressure defense forced 27 turnovers, and their fast-break offense turned them into easy baskets.
“We’re trying to develop a 94 by 50 game with ball pressure at all times,” Coach Stevie Martin said in reference to the dimensions of the court. “Our conditioning level is increasing and we will continue to improve based on how we practice.”
Darius Smith scored 6 of his game-high 17 points in the opening quarter, and Chuance Watkins added a steal and slam dunk to put Florence ahead 21-13 after eight minutes.
The Falcons opened the second quarter on a 12-0 run and extended their lead to 42-20 at the half. A 19-2 run to begin the second half sealed the win as Florence won in convincing fashion
Smith led all scorers with 17 points for the Falcons and Watkins tallied 16. Cole Michael led Lauderdale County with 9.
“Our job right now is to cut down on turnovers,” Martin said. “If we can do that, I’m looking for success in the our program and to carry on what has already been established here.”