EDEN — The Phoenix were able to wash away the bad taste following the opening round loss to Martinsville with a 66-45 win over Bethany Community School at the Battle of the Border Holiday Classic finals Friday.
Early on, Bethany gave McMichael all they could handle as they took the 11-10 lead heading into the second quarter. It was especially shocking considering the Wolves were blasted 83-28 by Morehead in the first round of the tournament Thursday.
But the Phoenix responded accordingly in the second quarter, as they outscored Bethany 31-12 to take a 41-23 lead into the locker room.
There wasn’t much scoring down the stretch by either team, as the second quarter offensive explosion virtually put the game out of reach as McMichael put the game on ice.
Martinsville 54, McMichael 48
The Bulldogs flipped the script on a slow start to turn things around and close out a 54-48 win over McMichael in the first round at the Battle of the Border Holiday Classic Thursday night.
The Phoenix went on a 7-0 run to start the game and meanwhile, Martinsville couldn’t buy a bucket as DMHS ended the opening period with a 13-6 lead heading into the second quarter.
But the roles that were the hallmarks of the first period, would switch as the Bulldogs started to close the gap as McMichael went cold. After whittling the Phoenix lead down to two possessions, junior Lemuel Jones stole the ball near half court and finished on the other end on a contested up-and-under to cut the lead to 16-14 with 1:13 to go in the half.
Gabe Caple gave his team a final cushion with a runner in the lane and Jackson Kirkpatrick hit one of two free throws for a 19-14 lead at the break.
That trend would continue through the third quarter as big man Jahiem Niblett started to heat up with two breakaway jams. He also started to have some success with his perimeter jumper, which wasn’t falling in the first half. By the end of the third period, Martinsville had taken over the lead at 35-31.
Later in the fourth quarter, McMichael’s Jackson Kirkpatrick would cut it to 2 points and then teammate Michael Lions got it down to 37-36 on a free throw. His second shot missed, but a put-back put McMichael back on top at 38-37. Later Capel tied it at 40-40 with a little more than four minutes remaining and it was looking like the game could very well come down to the last shot.
But another late run sparked by Niblett, and another 3-pointer by Troy Brandon, who knocked down three from beyond the arch on the night, gave the Bulldogs the two possession cushion they needed to close out the win.
McMichael will be back in action to kick off the new year with a home conference game versus Morehead on Jan. 3 with tip set for 7:30 p.m.
McMichael 13 6 21 17 — 54
Martinsville 6 8 12 17 — 48