Mohawk Basketball Review
The Mohawk girls and boys are idle for the holidays, after wrapping up their play for 2013 last week. The girls fell at Manila to the tough Lady Lions, while the Tribe posted an emotional win for them and Coach David Reynolds in the Clarkton Tourney. Here is a wrap-up, and preview of their first games of 2014.
The Piggott Lady Mohawks wrapped up 2013 with a visit to the Manila Lady Lions last Thursday, and were swept on the night by their hosts.
Coming off a win over Armorel, the senior girls had a frigid night from the floor and free-throw line as they fell 68-26 to the potent Lady Lions.
Meanwhile, the junior girls continued to have problems generating offense as they fell 32-19 in their contest.
The two squads will remain idle throughout the remainder of the holiday break, and will return to action on Monday, Jan. 6 as they host the Corning Lady Bobcats. That Thursday, Jan. 9 the Lady Bulldogs of Earle will visit PHS with both the junior and senior squads in action. Then, on Thursday, Jan. 13 the girls will travel to Osceola for a conference re-match with the Lady Seminole. Earlier this month the Tribe swept Osceola at PHS.
Mohawks at Clarkton
Entering his second season as head coach of the Piggott Mohawks, David Reynolds looked for ways to toughen his squad for the rigors of the late-season stretch. His answer was to schedule a variety of tournaments for the month of December, leaving the conference schedule for January and February.
And, in looking for tougher opponents Reynolds also looked to his roots and the physical style of play he had come to know as a high school standout in Southeast Missouri. As a result, the Tribe took part in the annual Bernie Invitational earlier this month; then competed in the Pre-Holiday Tournament at Westside. Last week they appeared for the second year in a row in the Clarkton Holiday Tournament--all in an effort to sharpen the squad both physically and mentally for the challenges ahead.
But, the Tribe also learned another important lesson as they began to take on the various schools from the Bootheel--they had to earn their respect. Up until last weekend, that plan didn't seem to be faring well. In play at Bernie the Tribe dropped their first round game to Puxico, and then lost in the consolation round to the Twin Rivers Royals.
Going into last week's tournament at Clarkton the Mohawks found new resolve, but they dropped their first round game to the host Reindeer and moved into the consolation bracket. The Tribe then bounced-back and posted a decisive win over the Gideon Bulldogs, behind senior Austin Murray's 29 point performance. This qualified them for Friday night's consolation final. And, thanks to the luck of the draw, the Mohawk's opponent would be the Redbirds of East Carter County--Reynolds's alma mater. To add even more drama to the situation, the Redbirds are coached by Brandon Cook. He and Reynolds were not only classmates and teammates at East Carter County; they both played on the school's state championship team as juniors.
But, as they had against the Bulldogs the Mohawks rose to the occasion, and led by Will Jett's 24 points easily beat the Redbirds 69-47.
The Tribe took on the Gideon Bulldogs in the consolation bracket at Clarkton last Tuesday, Dec. 17, and posted an 81-73 win.
The two squads actually played fairly evenly in the first two quarters, with the Tribe leading 16-14 after the first and extending it to a 38-35 advantage at the half. But, the Mohawks began to pull away in the third, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-14 in the frame, as they enjoyed a 63-49 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs did outscore the Mohawks 24-18 in the fourth, but the Tribe advanced with the 8 point win.
Murray's 29 points led all scorers, and included 11 of 13 free throw attempts and two 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Nick Harris had 15 and Will Jett finished with 13, including two more 3-point baskets. Also scoring for the Tribe were Trevor Grubb and Nick McKinnie with 8 points each, Logan Dixon with 4 and Brayden Brewer and Beau Jett with 2 each. As a team the Mohawks were 25 of 43 from the charity stripe.
Meanwhile, Brian Buchanan paced the Bulldog offense with 16 points, one of six players for the Gideon squad to score in double figures in the loss.
East Carter County
Friday night the Tribe took on East Carter County in the consolation final at Clarkton, and easily handled their head coach's former team by a final of 69-47. The Mohawks came out hot, and ran out to an early lead on the Redbirds they would never relinquish. Will Jett paced the attack, raining three-pointers from well beyond the arc, while Trevor Grubb was a force inside for the Tribe and controlled the paint.
The Mohawks come out strong and jumped to a 24-13 lead by the end of the first quarter, riding the momentum of five 3-pointers in the quarter--three coming from Will Jett. The Redbirds tried to follow suit, with sophomore Alex Coggins hitting two 3-point baskets in the first quarter, but he was shut down in the second half of play and finished with 11.
Murray and Grubb also had big first quarters, as the Mohawks dominated the Redbirds both inside and outside.
The Tribe extended their lead in the second quarter, outscoring East Carter County 19-12 in the frame, as they took a 43-25 lead into the locker room at intermission. They continued to dominate in the third quarter, despite a great deal of substitution, and led 62-38 at the end of three. The fourth quarter was played primarily by the subs from both teams, and the Redbirds outscored the Mohawks 9-7 in the frame to set the final score.
"It did seem strange to look down there and see someone you played ball with from the third grade all the way through school," Reynolds said afterward of facing Cook as a coach.
But, the coach was quick to point out the Mohawks earned the win with strong play.
"What you're seeing is the result of hard work and hard practice," he explained. "The guys were really hitting their shots, and that is a result of real-time shooting in practice at game speed--the preparation is really paying off."
Playing their fifth game in six days, the Tribe also showed-off their physical conditioning and stamina. "Its hard work like this that will pay-off in January," Reynolds surmised.
Also in double figures along with Jett were Austin Murray with 17 and Grubb with 10 points on the game. Rounding out the scoring for the Tribe were Nick Harris with 6, Brayden Brewer with 5, Jacob Wellman with 3 and Nick McKinnie and Caleb Welborn with 2 points each. As a team the Mohawks converted on 9 of 17 free throw attempts.
Leading the way for the Redbirds was Aaron Boyer with 13 points, 7 of which came in the first quarter. Coggins was also in double figures with 11, but was held to just 2 points in the second half.
"We tried to exploit what we felt were their weaknesses and it worked out well for us," Reynolds explained. "We knew there were match-up issues they would have with some of our guys and we used that to our advantage. It was a good win, and a good way to wrap-up 2013, we're now at 6-6 and I feel we're ready for the conference schedule."
The Mohawks will resume regular season, and conference, play on Friday, Jan. 3 as they host the Harrisburg Hornets at PHS. The Tribe did take on the Hornets in a non-conference game during the Pre-Holiday Tournament and notched a decisive win. The following Tuesday, Jan. 7 the Hoxie Mustangs will visit Piggott High School and that Friday, Jan. 10 the Earle Bulldogs travel to Piggott for a set with the Tribe.