MALAKOFF – The No. 9-ranked Malakoff Tigers had a hard fought first eight minutes against the Scurry-Rosser Wildcats Tuesday at Tiger Gymnasium.
The final 24 minutes was a different story in a 66-40 victory to remain unbeaten on the season.
Coach Don Enis team is now 9-0 overall and 6-0 in District 18-3A play. Enis said the Tigers just had to stay the course after the hot start by the Wildcats.
“I think you have to give the first quarter credit all to them,” Enis said. “They came out and played really well and really hard. What we talked about at halftime was stay the course and that is our thing. People are going to come at us but we just stay the course. We were pressing at the first of the game and fouling too much. We went straight man-to-man defense and kept the pressure on, but at the half court. I think that helped us with steals and run down layups.”
The Tigers are scheduled to return to action Friday at Blooming Grove to wrap up the first half of district play. The varsity follows the junior varsity around 6:30 p.m.
“They are going to be really athletic,” Enis said. “They will probably come after us like these guys did so they will give us all they want especially over there. We need to polish a few things and the snow got us a little bit. We are a little rusty today and two days of workout and we should be good Friday.”
In the first quarter, Scurry-Rosser held an 18-17 lead as Terrell Blanton gave them the lead going into the break with a putback with time running out on the clock.
Enis said Blanton was a player they were focused on and got him in foul trouble during the first half. Blanton picked up his fourth foul early in the third and finished with seven points.
“Some little things that we had talked about was their No. 4 (Blanton) was a really good ball player,” Enis said. “He had three fouls at halftime, and we talked about first possession getting in there and pump faking and trying to get him to draw his fourth. Nathan Jones did that and it made a big difference in games like this.”
Malakoff countered the pressure from the Wildcats with it’s all-state player from last year in Klayton Copeland, who finished with a game-high 29 points. Copeland had 21 points in the first half as he gave them a 31-20 lead with 2:47 left in the first half on an old-fashioned three-point play.
Enis said having a player like Copeland makes it easy for him on the inside and not having to plan an attack against him.
“No doubt and he (Copeland) is a first team all-state player from last year,” Enis said. “He is a great kid and we love to have him. Everybody knows who he is and they come to stop him. It does get frustrating but we stay the course and keep the pressure on.”
Following a 21-3 run in the second quarter to take a 38-21 halftime lead, Malakoff continued putting on the pressure and extended it to a 34-8 run at the end of three quarters for the 51-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In junior varsity action, the Tigers defeated Scurry-Rosser 33-32 for the sweep.