Houston drops two to Noxubee

Ethan Turner / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal Houston's senior guard Rodger Pratt (24) moves around the Noxubee County defense in their game at Houston Tuesday night Feb. 7, 2017.

Ethan Turner / Buy at photos.chickasawjournal
Houston’s senior guard Rodger Pratt (24) moves around the Noxubee County defense in their game at Houston Tuesday night Feb. 7, 2017.

By Ethan Turner

Special to the Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – The Toppers and Lady Toppers of Houston were back on the home court on Tuesday night to face the Noxubee Tigers.

It was a tough night for both Topper teams as both battled but were both defeated. The Lady Toppers were downed 64-54, and the Topper men fell 55-43.

In the first game, the Lady Toppers didn’t quite get off to the start they wanted as they opened with turnovers on their first few possessions.

Even with the rough start, the Lady Toppers were able to race ahead of the Lady Tigers of Noxubee. The Lady Toppers led 14-8 after one quarter.

The Lady Tigers took the lead in the second period after they went on a steady run. The Lady Toppers tried to keep pace on the scoreboard as Dee Dee Shephard and Aquana Brownlee were having success on the offensive end.

But even with two Lady Toppers playing well, Noxubee held a 28-21 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Lady Toppers fought back and took the lead on several occasions. The lead went back and forth through the third with Houston taking a small lead in the third.

But in the fourth, it was turnovers once again and this time late in the game, that affected the Lady Toppers. With the late turnovers, the Lady Tigers took the advantage, took the lead and took the win, 64-54.

After the loss, Houston coach Chris Pettit was clearly disappointed in the Lady Toppers’ performance.

“We started the game with five straight turnovers,” Pettit said. “When you turnover the ball as much as we did, and you don’t make layups, you get what you deserve.”

Pettit also said this loss really hurts his team’s seeding in the postseason tournament.

“That’s gonna probably put us number three playing on Tuesday night instead of having a bye,” Pettit explained. “It is what it is.”

The Lady Toppers were led at the rim by Shephard, who had 17, and Brownlee, who scored 14 points.

Noxubee 55,

Houston 43

In the nightcap, the Toppers much like the Lady Toppers, held the lead in the first quarter as Jaylin Smith came out of the gates playing well. The Toppers led 17-16 after one.

In the second frame, the Toppers couldn’t hold the lead as Noxubee began to find success on the offensive end. Although Smith kept the Toppers close, the Tigers took a 29-25 lead into the halftime break.

In the second half, with the lead, the Tigers played keep away for most of the time remaining trying to hold on to the lead.

Although the Toppers ramped up the pressure on the defensive end and forced numerous turnovers to create easy baskets, the Tigers were able to score when they needed to and eventually put the game out of reach for the Toppers.

Following the Toppers’ loss, Pettit said he was disappointed in the result, and felt the Toppers had a chance to win. Pettit said Houston did well with their man-to-man defense, but in the end they couldn’t stop Noxubee’s best player on the offensive end.

Pettit did say he has been proud of the Toppers’ improvement throughout the season, and he sees how hard they compete.

“The boys have really improved,” Pettit stressed. “Our boys compete every game. They play hard.”

The Toppers were led in scoring against Noxubee by Jaylin Smith who had 15 points.

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