After two consecutive steals, East Hamilton’s Ashton Munson looked over to his bench shaking his head with a grin sprawled across his face. By that point, the Hurricanes were in route to a win over regional rival Soddy Daisy 79-53.
“I had to get that one back. I just missed a dunk, so I had to get a steal,” said Munson recalling the defensive effort. “I love the intensity. Bringing that energy makes it a lot more fun, a lot better.”
Things were chippy before the game even tipped off between the top two in 3A district six, but East Hamilton Head Coach Andy Webb and his squad would leave no doubt about who is the dominant team in the region.
“We knew they were a very well coached and disciplined team, so we wanted to jump all over them,” said Webb. “We wanted to set the tempo early and set the tone.”
East Hamilton would start out hot by dropping 29 points in the first quarter, while holding Soddy Daisy to a lonely nine points, with scoring outbursts by a Hurricane entourage. Zachariah Laboo had a dominant showing by out-hustling, scoring and being the tone-setter.
“It is all about the hustle-plays, getting on the floor, and doing the little things that matter,” said Laboo about his effort.
With East Hamilton’s Kaden Herman continuing dominant play in the second quarter, Laboo let the Soddy Daisy faithful know who the top team in their division was.
“I like to interact with the crowd sometimes and I get hyped with the crowd,” added Laboo. “When I hear someone (heckling), I like to have a ‘prove ‘em wrong’ moment.”
There were plenty of moments like that for the Hurricanes. By the half, East Hamilton had a 49-26 lead and rained in 10 3-pointers. The Hurricanes looked like the 2017-2018 Golden State Warriors, a team that wanted to make a statement.
With the outcome in hand, the starters took their seat on the bench and cheered as the second string took the court. As the starters sat on the bench, they would banter with their teammates about scoring, defense and joke with one another along the bench.
“I am so proud of the comradery and the love for one another,” said Webb. “When your leaders, the upperclassmen guys, come out and root for the younger guys, it means a lot as a program.”
“They are my young bulls, and they are hungry,” said Munson about his teammates. “They are a part of the family, too.”
“It’s all love,” added Laboo and Munson.
The East Hamilton brotherhood remain unbeaten in regional play and look to improve upon their record with a much-anticipated matchup against the Red Bank Lions on Friday night, Jan. 27.
Soddy Daisy girls 52, East Hamilton 38: As for the girls, in one possession, the Lady Trojans came away with four offensive rebounds and points. It, too, was pure domination from the start.
Soddy Daisy raced out to a double-digit lead, 14-4, in four minutes of action. Led offensively by Cam Warrier, the Lady Trojans were, simply, clicking on all cylinders. Warrier quickly notched her 11 points in the first 16 minutes of action before her teammate, Alivia Hall, took over.
As Warrier was subbed out, Hall and Jada Trimiar stepped up to keep the offensive flow rolling. With a combined 15 points, the duo kept an East Hamilton comeback at bay.
With great effort, Lady Hurricanes’ Niya McGhee was a bright point for the East Hamilton offense. Although the night did not go their way, McGhee raked in 15 points in the contest and kept a competitive spirit throughout the night.
Soddy Daisy remains the top-dog in the division, 8-1, with their lone loss coming at the hands of Signal Mountain. The division is there's to lose, as a favorable schedule remains for the Lady Trojans.
SODDY DAISY 23 8 11 10 – 52
EAST HAMILTON 12 2 11 13 – 38
SODDY DAISY (52) – Alivia Hall 18, Cam Warrier 11, Patterson 9, Trimiar 8, Crawley 6.
EAST HAMILTON (38) – Niya McGhee 15, Woodruff 7, Laboo 6, Price 6, Calhoun 4.
3-point goals: Soddy Daisy 5 (Crawley 2, Hall 2, Warrier); East Hamilton 0
Records: Soddy Daisy (14-10, 8-1); East Hamilton 11-7 (5-3)
SODDY DAISY 9 17 14 15 – 53
EAST HAMILTON 29 20 19 11 – 79
SODDY DAISY (53) – Jonathan Love 11, Shawn Pangle 10, Eller 9, Landtroop 7, Johnson 6, Mull 4, Bailey 2, Poe 2, Hughes 2.
EAST HAMILTON (79) – Ashton Munson 24, Kaiden Herman 23, Juan Bullard 11, Scruggs 9, Brewster 8, Harris 3, Duffy 1.
3-point goals: Soddy Daisy 5 (Johnson 2, Pangle, Love, Landtroop); East Hamilton 14 (Herman 5, Munson 4, Scruggs 2, Bullard 1, Harris 1, Brewster 1).
Records: Soddy Daisy (12-6, 5-3); East Hamilton (14-4, 7-0).