Overhills entered the boys basketball season not knowing what to expect. Now the Jaguars can dream as high as they want.
The Jaguars are now alone in first place in the Mid-South 4A Conference after holding off Fayetteville’s Seventy-First High 56-53 on Tuesday night.
“I thought we were unselfish,” coach Tony Lewis said. “We share the ball really well. Everybody picks the next man up.”
It was a varsity split on the night as the Seventy-First girls defeated Overhills 60-47 as both teams are figuring out the middle of the conference standings.
Overhills (5-7, 1-2) met its fate against the Falcons (5-8, 1-2) thanks to scoring drought in the second quarter that allowed Seventy-First to break open a two-point game into a 32-18 halftime lead.
The Jaguars are still piecing things together in the first half of conference play and hoping that their young team will make the right adjustments in the second go-round.
“Now that we’ve seen what they had to offer, now we can come back and get them,” coach Tod Bonello said.
The boys’ win was comforting to Lewis, whose team went 1-2 over the Christmas break; its first losses of the year coming in back-to-back fashion.
After a 75-64 semifinal loss to Hoke County in the Yellow Jacket Invitational at Lee County, the Jaguars (11-2, 3-0) were upset by the host Yellow Jackets 39-38.
“I told them in the locker room – ‘The first thing I want to say is welcome back’ – because that was the team we were earlier in the year,” Lewis said. “The team we took to Lee County was not our team and it was good to see them back tonight.”
Against the area powerhouse Falcons (10-2, 2-1), Overhills found success by forcing turnovers and negated Seventy-First’s height advantage.
“Before the tournament, we didn’t practice well,” said Zavian McLean, who had 12 points. “So when got to practice on Monday, we knew we had to get right. If we didn’t do that, we were going to get blown out tonight.”
Latrell Lloyd – all 6 feet of him – dunked on a breakaway without fear of 6-foot-9 Najee Thomas, who was running him down from behind but couldn’t swat the ball away.
Josh Richmond had a game-high 21 points and Lloyd had 11. McLean, who had a few chase-down blocks as well, had a big 3 late as Overhills got some breathing room.
“I want to be a hype man. When we need that intensity, when we just gotta have it, I’m here to bring it,” McLean said.