By Melissa Meador
SMITHVILLE – Smithville opened its new gym with a bang on Thursday night with a 67-52 win for its boys’ team over Jumpertown and a nailbiter 41-36 loss for its girls’ team.
It was the first home high school game for the Seminoles since the 2011 tornado.
“Everybody has been excited, and the kids have been talking about it the last couple of weeks,” Smithville girls coach Michael Wildmon said. “They’ve been ready to play a game in here.”
In the girls’ game, Jumpertown opened up with an 11-0 lead before junior Laken Armstrong made the first Seminole basket in the new facility.
“It feels amazing, and God has blessed us to get back in here and have this nice of a facility,” Armstrong said. “Our team has improved a lot. We didn’t win tonight but I know we have some coming.”
Jumpertown took a 20-12 lead into halftime, but Smithville came out hot in the third quarter with Armstrong’s three-pointer bringing them to within five.
In the fourth, another three from Armstrong and a two from Lane Kennedy cut the lead to two at 31-29 before the Lady Cardinals widened the gap.
For Jumpertown, Josie Reese led the way with 8 points. Kennedy had a game-high 18 for the Lady Noles, while Armstrong added 13.
The Lady Noles are searching for their first win in three seasons.
“We came out and were a little nervous and missed a lot of easy shots,” Wildmon said. “It was a lot of excitement being in the new gym.”
Smithville’s boys used a second-half surge and a dominating performance from transfer Jared Henderson to cruise to their 67-52 win.
The two teams were tied at 33 at halftime, but Henderson rattled off seven straight points and 12 total in the third to push their lead to double digits. Dayon Moore finished with 20 points, while Tyler Moore’s 12 led the way for Jumpertown.
“After being on the road for two years and not having a facility for longer than that, it’s great to be at home and have something this nice you can call your own,” Smithville boys coach Greg Haynes said.