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Turnovers have plagued varsity boys basketball teams from Hunt and Beddingfield High in the early going.
But in Friday night’s first 2018-19 collision of the archrivals before a turnout of approximately 1,000 in the Beddingfield High gym, Hunt limited its miscues in posting a 69-49 nonconference win.
Decisive was the second quarter, when the Warriors outscored Beddingfield 18-5 and committed just two turnovers as compared to nine for the Bruins.
“I was pleased with the turnover factor,” commented Hunt head coach Dwight Taylor. “We had to tweak the lineup a little bit. We went a little bit smaller with less turnovers.”
Affected by sloppy intervals in the second half against Beddingfield’s full-court pressure, the Warriors wound up with 12 turnovers as compared to 21 for the Bruins.
“We had 28 in our game the other night,” noted Beddingfield head coach Joe Dvozenja. “That’s been our biggest problem. You go through bumps and bruises and, eventaully, you stop being bumped and bruised — and you play better. We’re not far off.”
But after an even opening quarter, the Bruins found themselves trailing 46-25 on a basket by Hunt’s Shaquille Wade late in the third quarter.
Hunt of the 3-A Big East Conference proceeded to its third win against two losses, while Beddingfield of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tumbled to 1-3.
Zion May, a 6-4 senior, paced Hunt with 17 points and nine rebounds. Junior Tiquez Taylor canned 15 points, while 6-3 freshman Davon Jones sparkled with 12 points and eight rebounds.
May simply smiled upon learning he missed a double-double by one rebound.
“I really don’t care,” he responded with a shrug, “as long as we play as a team and win. I thought we played well.”
Beddingfield was triggered by 6-5 Avery Huggins with 16 pointrs and Mike Best with 15. The Bruins lost the rebounding battle 35-24.
Hunt, led by Taylor, and the Bruins, keyed by Best, battled to a 11-11 standoff after one quarter.
But Hunt’s defense forced the Bruins to work for every shot in the second quarter and, in the first seven minutes, Beddingfield managed only a dunk from Huggins while the Warriors, ignited by Jones, tossed in 16.
“The freshman (Jones) came in and gave us a boost,” Dwight Taylor praised.
Leading 31-20, the Warriors responded with an 8-0 flurry in the third quarter. Beddingfield trimmed the deficit to 54-41 with just under five minutes remaining, but Hunt settled and again thrived in transition.
“We enjoy getting down and fighting back,” Dvozenja lamented “When you start slow, it’s going to be a long night. We had nine turnovers (in the second quarter) and they hit a lot of shots. Hats off to Hunt — they played a decent game. But if we start to play together, we can be really good. We have to find a lineup that works and I guess that’s my job.”
May, in his senior year, is enjoying playing within a new system.
“We play more defense and push each other harder,” May said. “Coach makes us play harder. I love the system; we play different and play as a team. Coach Taylor is a good coach.
“There’s no selfishness, no ‘I.’ “
Hammonds, Wade 4, Coley 4, Taylor 15, Hines 7, Brunson 2, Clay 6, Jones 12, Ward, May 17, Bates 2.
Huggins 16, Brantley 2, M. Best 15, Hutcherson 0, Speight 8, Highsmith 3, C. Williams, J. Best, Gattis, O. Willliams 1, Grant, Davis 4.
Score by quarters:
Hunt 11 18 21 19 — 69
Beddingfield 11 5 15 18 — 49