New No. 1 Bulldogs bog down Bearcats

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By Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – Aberdeen turned the tables on Baldwyn on Thursday night, slowing its tempo late and executing a 55-50 win in its first game as Northeast Mississippi’s No. 1 team.

“Executing, executing,” Aberdeen forward Marcus Carouthers said.

Conner McKay gave Baldwyn a 45-43 lead with a pull-up jumper to close the third quarter, but the Bearcats scored only five points in the fourth.

Tied at 45, Carouthers’ block led to Derrell Carouther’s bucket for a 47-45 lead. Romaro Crump missed a pair of free throws for Baldwyn (19-2) and Aberdeen executed what Baldwyn had been trying to do.

The Bulldogs (15-6) held the ball for 1:31 before Sammie Burroughs took Colby Agnew off the dribble and hit a pair of free throws for a 49-45 lead.

“That is one thing we enforce, execution late in the game,” Aberdeen coach Cornelius Gilleylen said. “If any team can make layups and free throws at the end of a game, it makes it a whole lot easier to come out with a win.”

Aberdeen hit 8 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter. Baldwyn missed 3 of 4.

Crump’s free throw cut Aberdeen’s lead to three before Marcus Carouthers scored over Ryan Wesson’s attempt to draw a change, then added a pair of free throws with 1:01 to play. He hit a game-high 23 points.

No. 8 Baldwyn was playing its first game without starting guard Martel Brown, dismissed from the team earlier this week for what coach Jason McKay called “conduct detrimental to the team.” The Bearcats were also without starter Felix Hayes.

Despite 13 turnovers, Baldwyn led 32-27 at the half. McKay finished with a team-high 15 points. Duke Upshaw scored 14, Chet Barber 12.

“We did not lose a basketball game tonight,” Jason McKay said. “We competed. I thought our kids showed great resiliency right there.”

(G) Baldwyn 47, Aberdeen 22: Keontra Tyes almost outscored Aberdeen. Her 20 points led Baldwyn. Timaya Stewart added 18 for the Lady Bearcats. Mahalia Dearing had 9 for Aberdeen.

brandon.speck@journalinc.com