By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
WATER VALLEY – One of Roy Hazzle’s goals over his 26 years of coaching has been to never lose to the same team twice in a season.
After losing the lone regular season meeting with Mooreville in overtime, the Aberdeen Bulldogs did not disappoint their coach in the Division 2-3A Tournament championship game.
Aberdeen’s 63-48 victory on Friday gave Hazzle the 15th division crown of his illustrious career.
“I wouldn’t really say it’s revenge, we just wanted it,” Hazzle said. “Defend and rebound was our way to approach this game.”
Aberdeen (21-7) did just that by holding the Troopers’ sharp-shooting guards without a made 3-pointer the entire contest.
“They didn’t give us a shot to look at one,” Mooreville coach Jeff Tally said. “They played good defense and we just didn’t respond very well.”
Eleven players brought in a rebound and nine scored for the Bulldogs, the Journal’s 7th-ranked team. Aberdeen’s bench, led by Marcus Carothers and Ken McCoy, outscored its starting five.
The Bulldogs and Troopers exchanged the lead six times in the first half. Aberdeen edged ahead in the third, but No. 2 Mooreville looked primed for a comeback after an Austin Timms slam dunk.
But Rico Houghton and Nick Sims responded with 3-pointers in the last minute of the quarter to effectively end the Troopers (26-4) threat.
Houghton was the only double-digit scorer for Aberdeen with 16, while Austin Timms scored 14 for Mooreville.
(G) South Pontotoc 42, Mooreville 37: Smart defense helped the Lady Cougars (21-10) hold top-seeded Mooreville scoreless for over ten minutes and without a field goal for 13 minutes in the first half.
South Pontotoc scored 16 unanswered points in that stretch. Freshman Maddison Crudup led the Lady Cougars with 15 points and CC Costilow added 14.
“I’ve got a bunch of 4.0 grade averages on my team,” said South Pontotoc coach Matt Waldrop. “They understand what I’m trying to get across to them, day in and day out.”