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Lions boys roll over Bluestone 49-31 for eighth straight win

Six and a half minutes. That’s all the time the Halifax County Middle School Lions boys basketball team needed to dismantle Bluestone Middle School here in Monday night’s Southside Middle School Conference contest.

Halifax County Middle School won the game 49-31 to remain undefeated at 8-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play. The final score was much closer than the game was.

The Lions wasted little time in getting on track. Using a pair of baskets from James Smith Jr., who went on to lead the Lions with 18 points, and a three-point basket from Tylik Powell, the Lions broke a 4-4 deadlock to forge an 11-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.

A basket from Stephan Chandler and a second basket from Powell in the first 30 seconds of the second quarter gave the Lions a 15-4 lead. Bluestone never recovered.

Using a stifling pressure defense to create steals and turnovers, the Lions broke the game open, running up a 23-8  lead before the first two minutes of the second quarter ticked off of the clock. Leading 23-11, the Lions went on a 14-0 run down the stretch of the second quarter and led 37-11 before Bluestone’s Anthony Pettus hit a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the first half to break the Lions’ run and make it a 37-14 score at halftime.

“We suspected they (Bluestone) were weak with the basketball, so what we wanted to do was jump all over them and make them beat our press,” explained Lions Head Coach W.J. Long.

“We feed off of that energy. It’s kind of like a shark seeing blood in the water. Once we got going, we kept feeding, feeding and feeding.”

With reserves seeing a lot of the playing time in the second half, the Lions produced only 12 points the rest of the game. It made little difference in the outcome.

Bluestone Middle School got the first basket of the second half. However, the Lions came back with a pair of easy layups, one from Smith and one from Jackye Dabbs off of a steal to run the score up to 41-16.

The visitors made some progress against the Lions’ reserves in the fourth quarter, but the Lions had more than enough of a cushion to withstand Bluestone’s late run.

“The boys played hard,” Long said of his team.

“They played well and with energy. This is our last game until we come back from Christmas break and we wanted to end this part of the season a positive note. 

“The reserves got in a lot of playing time and we got contributions from a lot of people,” he added.

“It was a win-win for everybody.”

Nine Lions players got into the scoring column with Smith leading the team with 18 points, all but two of which came in the first half. Powell followed with eight points and Dabbs and Chandler each chipped in six points.