To say the East Hamilton basketball squad made short work of visiting Tyner Academy Friday night would be a bit of an understatement.
The Hurricanes made 24 shots in the 62-49 non-region battle victory in a game matching two of the area’s better squads and all but three of those makes came within a foot or so of the basket. You heard that right: East Hamilton made 13 layups, five shots in the lane and put back four offensive rebounds on the night.
In fact, the Hurricanes didn’t make a jump shot until the final minute of the third period.
“We played terrible, they played terrible. It was exactly what you would expect when you get all these snow days,” said East Hamilton coach Rodney English. “I wish we had another game right now. It was tough trying to find any rhythm out there. We just had no timing at all.”
And his team won.
Truth of the matter was neither squad looked sharp as both were playing the second night in a row after both secured big district wins on Thursday. Tyner dropped Signal Mountain and East Hamilton knocked off Soddy-Daisy.
“We had a tough win last night at Signal Mountain and I just didn’t think we had much energy tonight,” said Tyner coach E’Jay Ward. “We have got to learn how to defend better. We’ve got our work cut out for us the next few weeks, but we’ve still got some young ones trying to fill in the roles we need them to fill.”
The one thing the Hurricanes did bring to the table last night aside from their excellent work on the layup drills was an effective defense. East Hamilton (18-3) limited Tyner to just 24 percent shooting in the first half as it built a 29-18 halftime lead.
“I thought our defense was solid enough to get the job done. Our plan is always to get our defense to spark our transition offense, and I did think we got out on the break pretty effectively tonight and it made a difference,” English explained.
The Hurricanes used an 8-0 run that included three coast-to-coast layups to break from a 12-all tie early in the second period. Justin Dozier had six of those points en route to a game-high 16 points on the night. A six-point spurt courtesy of Tyner’s Soloman Bridgeman got the Rams close, but Tyner failed to score a basket in the final 4:02 of the half
Tyner (9-6) had a couple of runs in the third period to close it to single digits, but the Hurricanes had an answer every time, and it was usually an uncontested or barely contested layup. Vandrele Wilson drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:06 left in the third for East Hamilton’s first make outside the lane, and he liked it so much he popped another trey 23 seconds later and the Hurricanes had their biggest lead of the night at 46-31 after three.
The Rams gave it one final run to get it back to single digits with Amon Grace scoring six straight points for Tyner, but a Cameron Montgomery trey and Dozier’s layup closed the door for good. The game got a little mouthy in the end and five technical fouls were called between the two squads, including four on East Hamilton players, but Tyner missed on 10 of the 14 free throws it had on the night.
“We just didn’t respond well, and like I said, the energy just wasn’t there. We had some effort, and some fight in us, but we gave up entirely too many uncontested shots. Hard to win games like that, but we will use it as a teaching lesson,” Ward said.
Not having senior point guard Jeremy Elston in the lineup hurt the Rams as well. He tweaked an ankle in Thursday’s win, tried to go at the start, but Ward pulled him at the first whistle not wanting to chance further damage to it.
East Hamilton, winners now in 12 of its last 13 games, had two other players in double figures aside from Dozier’s 16. Cameron Montgomery added 13 and sophomore Sam Randolph chipped in 11. The Rams got 12 from Bridgeman and 10 from Grace in the losing cause.
East Hamilton girls 51, Tyner 25
The Lady Hurricanes blitzed the Lady Rams from the tip to improve to 18-2 on the year. East Hamilton jumped to a 15-5 lead after the first and took a 30-12 lead into the halftime dressing room before substituting freely in the final half.
Eliziah Laboo scored all 10 of her points in the first half and Dezah Lacy scored seven in the first quarter to lead the early onslaught. Madison Hayes led the winners with 14 points.
For Tyner (12-5), Keniah Watkins had 14 points.
Tyner 5 7 8 5 -- 25
East Hamilton 15 15 18 3 -- 51
TYNER (25) – McKenzie, Ratliff, Cooley, Crumsey, Cosey, Melton 7, McCutcheon, Carnes, Watkins 14, Taylor 4, Thomas, Wyatt.
EAST HAMILTON (51) – Moon 2, Lacy 9, D. Zeh, Suttles 9, Medley 2, Ma. Hayes 14, Mc. Hayes, C. Zeh 2, Johnson 3, Petitt, Evans, Abernathy, Laboo 10.
3-point goals: Tyner 0: East Hamilton 4 (Ma. Hayes 2, Lacy, Johnson)
Tyner 10 8 13 18 -- 49
East Hamilton 12 17 17 16 -- 62
TYNER (49) – Elston, Craddock 6, Bowens 8, Dozier 2, Little 7, Hinton 2, Bridgeman 12, Halfacre 2, Grace 10.
EAST HAMILTON (62) – Wilson 9, Williams 8, Montgomery 13, Paisley 2, Hughley 3, S. Randolph 11, Rogers, Dozier 16, D. Randolph, Johnson.
3-point goals: Tyner 5 (Craddock 2, Little 2, Bowens); East Hamilton 3 (Wilson 2, Montgomery)
(Contact James Beach via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @beachnut1134)