Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

January 15, 2013

Tigers charm Cobras

HONAKER, Va. — Honaker’s effort the first 12 minutes wasn’t exactly a gem, so the Tigers pulled out a little diamond in the second half.

Honaker overcame a double-digit first-half deficit and pulled out a 56-48 Black Diamond district win over Council Tuesday night at A.P. Baldwin Gymnasium.

The upset-minded Cobras controlled the tempo and the basketball in patiently building an 18-8 lead early in the second quarter.

Honaker, behind the inside play of Payton Ball, slowly, but surely chipped away at its deficit and got within 27-24 by halftime. Ball scored 13 of his 18 points before the intermission and got the Cobras big men in foul trouble.

The Tigers (12-2, 4-0) threw a diamond half-court trap, an alignment usually used with full-court pressure, at Council in the third period. It forced a slew of turnovers in an extended 16-2 run that helped Honaker to a 40-32 lead late in the quarter.

“We came out dead, we usually have one bad quarter or so,” explained Honaker guard Ty Hall, who was one of five Tigers with two or more steals. “In the first half we didn’t have any energy and we let (Council) dictate the tempo.

“We went to a half-court diamond trap, we just scoot it back some. We haven’t used it much, but it seems to work pretty well when we do.”

Hall finished with 10 points, six assists and three steals. Tyler Hale added 11 points, including a huge 3-pointer out of the left corner that gave the Tigers a 46-39 advantage early in the final period.

Cameron Presley (14 points), Justin Mathis (12) and Zack Tiller (11) all scored in double figures for Council, which did not handle the Tigers defensive pressure well.

At one point in the fourth quarter the Cobras (6-8, 2-2) had scored 15 points and turned the ball over a whopping 13 times.

“Honaker did a good job of disrupting our rhythm,” Council coach Patrick Wade said. “Payton Ball did a great job inside and they made their free throws down the stretch.

“This is the second game in a row we’ve dictated the tempo and worked really hard to get our assignments and lost all that in the second half.”

Hall, Ball, Hale and Casey Dye all made free throws in the final 2:18.

The more athletic Tigers forced 21 turnovers in all.

“Credit that (assistant) coach (David) Bostic and (assistant) coach (Justin) Hall, they said let’s go diamond and we got some turnovers and got some easy buckets off it,” Honaker coach Marcus Dunham said. “In the second half said we wanted to pick up our defensive intensity and I thought that was a credit to our half-court trap.”

The win sets the stage for Honaker and Haysi in a mid-season BDD showdown here on Friday.

“Give credit to Council they came out ready to play, they came out to play with a purpose,” added Dunham. “Our kids must have thought we had it won on paper and they came out flat. We must have been looking ahead to Friday night.”

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