Mohawks Battle Hillcrest in Mustang Classic Finals

Thursday, January 5, 2017
The Mohawks with their second place trophy at the conclusion of the Mustang Classic at Hoxie.(photo courtesy Frank Staples Photography)

With the regular season battles of January and February to come, Mohawk first-year coach Seth Medlin looked for court time for his senior squad during the holiday tournament time. With that in mind he entered the Tribe in the Mustang Classic at Hoxie High School, which guaranteed three games in just a few days between Christmas and New Years. Coming in as the seventh seed of eight, due to the fact the brackets were set before the Mohawks ever played a game, they hammered their way to the championship game in decisive manner but faltered and fell in the finals.

Midland

The Mohawks drew the Midland Mustangs in the first round at Hoxie last Tuesday, and rode a 25-9 first quarter advantage to a 69-54 win. On the night the Tribe spread the ball around, with four players in double figures led by Quentin Reeves with 15.

Piggott's Trey Gossett (15) elevates for a basket in action against the Maynard Tigers. Pictured set to rebound for the Mohawks are, from left: Quentin Reeves, Brier Staples (2) and Peyton Mann (11).(TD photo/Tim Blair)

After jumping out to the early lead the Mohawks were outscored 15-13 in the second, but maintained a 38-24 advantage at the half. The Tribe countered in the third with a 21-14 performance to take a 58-36 lead into the final frame. Down the stretch the Mustangs outscored the Mohawks 18-10, but it was too-little-too-late as the final was set.

The Mohawks continue to get good production from the perimeter offense as Brier Staples had 14 and Trey Gossett finished with 12 while Peyton Mann tallied another 11. Rounding out the Piggott scoring were Josh Lyman with 5, while Bret Fuller Brett Burns and Carrington McDaniel finished with 4. As a team the Mohawks were a solid 15 of 20 from the charity stripe.

Leading scoring for the Mustangs was Keagan Tharp with 20 points, although he was 0 for 3 from the free throw line. As a team Midland was 8 of 19 on free throws.

Maynard

In round two on Wednesday, the Mohawks took on Maynard for the second time this year, after posting a 63-54 win early in December at MHS. Once again the Tribe took advantage of a hot first quarter, sprinting to a 17-3 lead and never looking back. The Tigers responded in the second quarter with a 13-8 run, setting the score at 25-16 Mohawks at the break. The two squads played fairly even in the third, with the Mohawks enjoying a 10-9 advantage, as they took a 35-25 lead into the fourth. In the final quarter Medlin subbed liberally, as the Tribe took the frame 18-7 to stretch the lead to the final of 53-32.

Mann, who according to unofficial sources passed up a trip to Hawaii to play in the tourney, led all scorers with 16, including 8 in the fourth quarter. Gossett was also in double figures with 12 along with Reeves and Staples with 10 points each. Lyman finished with 4 while McDaniel and Fuller had 2 each.

As a team the Mohawks converted on just 8 of 22 free throw attempts, while the Tigers were 4 of 7 from the line. Leading Maynard in scoring was Dakota Lee with 14.

Hillcrest

Playing for the third day in a row, the Tribe traveled back to Lawrence County on Thursday evening and took on the Screamin' Eagles of Hillcrest High School at Strawberry. As the top seeds, they had advanced with a squeaker over Newport in the first round, then beat Palestine-Wheatley to get to the title game.

And, once again the Mohawks enjoyed a big first quarter and jumped to a 12-6 lead after one. But, the remainder of the contest went to Hillcrest, as they outscored the Tribe 28-8 in the second, 16-10 in the third and 20-14 in the fourth quarter en route to a 60-44 decision.

On the night Staples was the only Mohawk in double figures as he had 11, despite being shut-out in the fourth quarter. Lyman finished with 9, Mann and Fuller had 6 each, Reeves and Gossett had 5 each and McDaniel had 2 points off the Mohawk bench. As a team the Mohawks were 11 for 22 from the charity stripe, including a 4 for 5 night by Mann as he only had one field goal in the loss.

Hillcrest was paced by Dyllan Nunnally with 20 points, with 14 of those coming in the second half of play. As a team the Screamin' Eagles were 9 of 16 from the free throw line.

Named to the All-Tournament team for their performances were Piggott's Mann and Reeves.

Thursday evening the Mohawks are scheduled to resume regular season play at home against Maynard, as they take a 5-4 overall record into the month of January. Friday evening they're slated to make the trip to Melbourne to visit the Bearkatz. Next Monday, Jan. 9, they host the Corning Bobcats at PHS, Tuesday, Jan. 10, they'll be on the road at Ridgefield Christian and Thursday, Jan. 12, the Tribe will be back at Hoxie High School to take on the Mustangs.

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