By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
By his own lofty statistical standards, it was only an average night for Robert Hubbs.
Such is the measuring stick for greatness.
Hubbs, a University of Tennessee signee listed among the Top 20 players in the nation, matched his seasonal scoring average with 28 points to lead seventh-ranked Dyer County to an 88-54 rout of South Fulton Tuesday night.
Hubbs — showing uncanny shooting range — made seven of the Choctaws’ dozen 3-pointers in just over three quarters of playing time. Five of those made-treys came from beyond 25 feet and the 6-5 guard who chose the Volunteers over Duke among others, capped a 14-point second period and an 11-3 spurt in the last two minutes of the opening half with a pretty two-handed dunk off an alley-oop feed.
“You just can’t ever relax against him because he can shoot it and make it from anywhere,” SF head coach Wes Miller said after watching his team get outscored 50-23 in the second half after trailing just 38-31 at the intermission.
The South Fulton girls continued their recent impressive play in the opener, winning for the sixth straight time with a strong final two periods in a 62-53 triumph over the Class 3A Lady Choctaws.
Taleeah Cross had 17 of her team-high 20 points in the second half for the Devilettes, who scored the final eight points over the third quarter to overtake DC after trailing by as many as 10 points just before the halftime horn.
“The girls just decided they didn’t want to lose,” South Fulton skipper Curt Lee said of his troops, who improved to 12-4. “It was all about effort and toughness in the second half. They stepped up when they were challenged.”
The Red Devil teams return to District 14A play on Friday with a trip to Humboldt.
DC 88, SF 54 (B)
Shaky early when they trailed by as many as eight, the Redmen (10-7) regained their composure and gave DC all it wanted for most of the remainder of the first half.
Keshawn McManus converted an old-fashioned 3-point play from the paint to close the difference to 18-14 after one quarter before Harrison Hawks drained a triple and Ryan Moore made a 10-footer to put SF on top — the first of three times South Fulton led. Another McManus 3-point play halfway through the stanza and Moore’s two free throws accounted for the other of those two occasions, the last (28-27) with 2:08 left before halftime.
Hubbs, who scored nine straight points earlier in the frame, bottomed a 28-footer and capped the Choctaws’ late flurry, though, with his aforementioned jam just before the halftime buzzer to give his team a seven-point advantage.
Though they never truly employed their vaunted fullcourt press, the Tribe (17-1) gradually pulled away beginning in the middle portion of the third quarter and never looked back.
“You just can’t take a possession off against them, and we that little stretch right before the half where we got lost defensively a time or two and had a couple of turnovers and they put together the run that sent them on their way,” South Fulton’s Miller added. “I thought we fought in the first half, and I could see in our guys’ eyes that they thought they had a chance.
“In the second half, they had a run where they couldn’t miss anything and we couldn’t make anything.”
McManus posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and drew praise from his coach as did Moore, who added eight points and six boards in a reserve role. Hawks also scored in twin figures with 12 while T.J. Ingram dished out six assists.
SF 62, DC 53 (G)
Lee admitted his team was outscrapped and pushed around in the first half by a DC squad noted for its physical defensive play while winning 12 of 16 games coming in.
The Devilettes not only matched that style over the final two frames, they did the visitors one better by putting together a solid offensive stretch in which they outscored the Choctaw girls 41-25 during the final 16 minutes after trailing 29-21 at the half.
Laken Haley’s 3-point play drew SF even at 34 with two minutes left in the third before Cross gave South Fulton the lead for good with a driving bucket at the 52-second mark. Taylor Rodgers knocked down a huge 3-pointer just six ticks before the buzzer to make it 39-34 and send the Big Red into the stretch run with momentum.
Cross had 11 points in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory with a pair of free throws at the 30-second mark after teammate Sydney Easterwood had tallied a minute earlier to keep SF up by eight.
“They (Dyer County) really test you with how they play and I thought that was good for us to see that style with the tournaments not so far down the road,” Lee continued. “We held our composure, then we matched their aggressiveness in the second half. It was a really good win.”
Ka-lon Martin, who carried the Devilettes in the first half with 10 points, finished with stellar numbers — 16 points and 18 rebounds. Haley gave SF three double-figure scorers with 10 markers.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.13