Wildcats blast Dawson Springs in opener
by Scott Brown, Sports Editor Email Scott
Dec 02, 2004 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Chumbler graded it a B-minus.

Regardless, the outcome was A-OK as Trigg County opened the 2004-05 basketball season with an 89-59 win at Dawson Springs Monday night.

Jeremy Jones scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the second quarter as the Wildcats used a 15-2 run to break the game open.

The Wildcats shot 47-percent from the field, but committed 24 turnovers that led to 16 Panther points.

"I’d give it a B-minus," Chumbler said. "We made some mistakes you normally make in your first game, but the effort was there."

Jones just missed a triple-double, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out nine assists.

But it was his steal and dunk that keyed the second quarter run that helped the Wildcats to a 46-29 lead at halftime.

Dawson Springs opened in a 2-3 zone and dared the Wildcats to beat them from the outside.

The first quarter featured three ties and six lead changes and saw the Panthers take a 15-10 lead in the first quarter.

Trigg County struggled to find their offense, but used a full court press to force turnovers and break the game open.

The Wildcats outscored Dawson 10-3 to lead 20-18 after the first quarter.

"We weren’t moving the ball that well against the zone. We have to hit some shots early from the outside to open up the middle," Chumbler said.

Cue Jones, who hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Wildcats took command.

Dawson Springs tried switching to a 3-2 zone after halftime that slowed Trigg some. The Wildcats scored just six points in the first five minutes of the third quarter, but Dawson Springs couldn’t counter, missing 11 of their first 12 shots of the second half.

Jones had four points in a key spurt at the end of the quarter that helped push the Wildcat lead to 65-43.

The athleticism of the Wildcats eventually wore on the Panthers, who had two starters foul out despite the zone defense.

Trigg’s advantage was most evident on the glass where they outrebounded Dawson 59-33, which led to a 25-8 advantage in second chance points.

Sophomore Russell Mackins scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds in his first game as a Wildcat. He also had five of Trigg’s nine blocked shots on the night.

"He has such good timing on defense and on his blocked shots, especially when the other team is in transition and shooting layups," Chumbler said.

Jamaal Boyd joined Jones and Mackins in double figures with 17 points and eight rebounds.

T.J. O’Hara came off the bench to score eight points and grab five rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

"He came in and shined for us tonight. He got on the glass and played good defense," Chumbler said.

Zack Wright also had eight points despite battling foul trouble.

Dawson Springs got 13 points each from Britt Bailey and Justin Robinson, but shot just 27-percent from the field. The Panthers made 18 field goals (on 67 attempts) and 18 free throws (on 28 attempts).

The Wildcats were 34-of-72 (47%) from the field and 17-of-28 (61%) from the charity stripe and had 19 assists.

"We’re almost too unselfish because we had guys passing on the open shot, but I guess I’d rather they be unselfish instead of throwing up bad shots," Chumbler said.

If there was a negative to the evening, it was Trigg’s 24 turnovers, but they forced 26 miscues of their own which led to 26 points.

Trigg County has now won nine straight games against the Panthers going back to 2000 and leads the all-time series 46-25.

Trigg also won the J.V. game 48-38 as Stephon Smithers scored 20 points to lead the Wildcats.

The Wildcats return to action Thursday night in the Marshall County HoopFest, a three-day, 16-game event in Draffenville.

Trigg will play Charleston, Missouri Thursday night at 9 p.m.

The Bluejays have won the Missouri Class 3A state title nine times and have finished third the past two years.

However, Charleston was rocked 67-38 by Pine Bluff, Arkansas last week in their season opener.

The Bluejays played without their top returning scorer, 6-5 guard Ashton Farmer who was sick.

Farmer, who will play college basketball next year at Arkansas State, averaged 17 points and nine rebounds last year.

Over the summer, he played on the same AAU team as Tyler Hansbrough of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, who will be playing at North Carolina next year.

Farmer is coached by his father, Danny.

"We expect them to press us a lot, but they’re more of a ball control team. They will get out into transition but then play half court also. We think we can match up with them well," Chumbler said.

Charleston, like Trigg County, will put a young team on the floor.

Sophomore point guard Shawn Sherrill scored 20 of Charleston’s 38 points in their loss last week, while sophomore forward Jamarcus Williams added 15.

Despite the result of Thursday’s game, Chumbler sees the HoopFest experience as nothing but a positive.

"The prestige of being in the tournament is something that helps our program. After we play Thursday, we can relax on Friday and Saturday and watch some of the best players in the nation play up close."

Thursday night’s game is scheduled for 9 p.m.
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