Rebs unashamed of final offering

Rebs unashamed of final offering
Rebs unashamed of final offering

Obion Central’s Bryan Morris drives in during Wednesday’s season-ending loss at Covington.
COVINGTON — As strange as it may sound, a season-ending 35-point loss will not have a lingering effect on Obion Central boys’ coach Bill Kail.
“I’m not leaving here tonight with a bad taste in my mouth,” the Rebel skipper said after his team was ousted from the District 13AA Tournament Wednesday night with a 79-44 loss to second-ranked and top-seeded Covington.
Before one can question Kail’s sanity, it should be duly noted that OC was beaten much worse — 71-19 — in its last visit to Tipton County in January, setting a school futility mark for fewest points scored in a game in an embarrassing performance.
There was no questioning the Rebels’ effort on Wednesday, according to their coach, despite the obvious fact that they were outmanned by a deep and athletically-talented Charger team that is now 23-4 and unbeaten in 17 games against District 13AA competition this season.
“We talked at halftime about not quitting and not getting our heads down. We stressed playing the game hard until the end, and I thought we did that,” Kail added. “Even if our execution wasn’t good, our effort was. Covington has a fine basketball team, and they’ve made a lot of people look bad at times this year.”
Obion Central, which finished the season at 12-17 and more than doubled last season’s win total (5) in Kail’s fifth season at the helm, in fact gave a better accounting of itself than in a severe beating nearly a month ago to the night.
The Rebels actually led briefly Wednesday in the early-going following Bryan Morris’ old-fashioned 3-point play opened the scoring.
But a pair of four-minute stretches in which OC committed 15 of its 17 first-half turnovers vs. the Chargers’ cat-quick fullcourt pressure resulted in Covington runs of 10 and 12 unanswered points and effectively ended any notions that a monumental upset was in the offing.
“We addressed handling their pressure and not letting one bad play turn into three or four, but things sort of snowballed on us there in the first quarter and then the last four minutes of the first half,” Kail confirmed.
Central was within 14-11 late in the first quarter after weathering the first of those aforementioned Covington storms.
Tanner Noles bottomed a 3-pointer and Joshua Gale converted an old-fashioned 3-point play after the Rebs had faltered with five turnovers on six possessions during the Chargers’ run of 10 in a row.
It was still relatively close — 31-19 — halfway through the second stanza when Christian Higgins made his only bucket of the contest.
The county locals essentially fell apart from then until halftime, though, committing floor mistakes on six trips, while Covington — with a balanced attack from both inside and outside — ran off 12 straight to take a commanding 43-19 lead at the intermission.
OC contributed to its demise by missing all six of its free throw attempts during the period, two of those one-and-one bonus chances.
While the second half was a mere formality result-wise, Central did continue to give maximum effort and did not allow the state-mandated mercy rule to come into play until halfway through the final period.
The Rebels finished with more than 25 turnovers and shot just 21-of-48 (43.7 percent).
Noles, one of three seniors on the OC roster, tied Covington’s Dexter Moore for game-high scoring honors with 14 points. Morris chipped in with 11 for Central.
Gale and Jacob Wade, the latter of whom played only this season at Obion Central, were the other two Rebel seniors.
The Chargers had three players other than Moore in double digits. Both Devin Wakefield and Shelton Lyons accounted for a dozen points, while Demetres Calybon totaled 10.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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