The West Harrison Hurricanes (6-5) capitalized on quick guard play on both ends of the court and solid play around the basket on the offensive end to put away St. Patrick (5-4) for a 66-42 victory on Tuesday in Gulfport.
“We’ve played well,” said Hurricanes coach Jeff Norwood. “We’ve been in every game. We had a chance to win all of them. I really think we should’ve won all of them.”
The Fighting Irish fought back in the second quarter, getting within one point of the Canes on a 3-point play by Alex Triplett, who was fouled on a made layup. He made the free throw to pull within one point of the Canes at 20-19.
But that was as close as the Fighting Irish would get, as the Canes would increase their lead to as many as eight points in the second quarter before closing out the first half with a 29-22 lead.
Matt Krass sank a 3-pointer to pull the Fighting Irish within five points of the Canes late in the third quarter, but West Harrison would close out the quarter on a 6-0 run with two 20-foot Reese jump shots and a Javon McCalebb layup off a steal.
The Canes opened the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 58-36 lead at the midpoint of the period and their defense pressured the Fighting Irish around the perimeter and inside the lane.
“I’ve got some good guards who can put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways,” said Norwood. “Kameron Bolden is really, really quick, and he makes everybody’s job easy. If you throw one weak pass, he’s going to get it and go. If you’re a little bit laxed, he’s going to slap it out of your hand and go.”
Norwood also talked about the strengths of two players who made a big difference for the Canes in this game.
“I’ve got Javon McCalebb, who’s been around,” said Norwood. “He’s a strong kid. He plays both football and basketball.”
Jazear Carter got the Canes going in the first quarter with three putbacks off three offensive rebounds.
“Jazear has a high IQ and good instincts,” said Norwood. “He always happens to be in the right place all the time.”
Reese and Carter led the Canes with 16 points each, followed by McCalebb with eight.
St. Patrick will host Bowling Green on Friday and West Harrison will host Picayune.
West Harrison girls 35, St. Patrick 29
The Lady Canes would extend their lead to as many as nine points in the fourth quarter at 35-26 with just over two minutes remaining, and that margin was more than the Lady Fighting Irish could overcome.
The victory marks a two-game win streak for the Lady Canes, who defeated Pass Christian on Saturday.
“What we preach is that you are in control of two things—your effort and your attitude,” said Lady Canes coach Patty Norwood. “And I thought effort-wise, we did what we’re supposed to do, and it just happened to work out in our favor. St. Patrick is a great team, but we’ve been working to play all the game and not take any time off. I thought we did a better job of that.
“Two wins in a row. If you remember last year, we started off kind of the same way. We’re just trying to figure out our rotation, figure out each other. Although I have all of them back, we’re kind of in different roles now than we were last year.
“People know who we are now, so I think it’s going to take us a little bit, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
Sydnei Barber led the Lady Canes with 19 points, followed by Taylor Rae Norwood with five.
The Lady Fighting Irish will host Forrest County on Friday and the Lady Canes will host Picayune.