Cavemen club Lions 52-40 in opening NEA Tournament game
Town Crier Sports Staff
Manila coach Jeral Hudspeth knew going in that his #6 seed Lions would have a difficult time with #3 seed and defending NEA 3A champion Cave City when they met in the quarterfinals last Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, nothing the Lions did during the game caused him to change his opinion as Manila was sent home, victims of a 52-40 drubbing by the Cavemen.
"We didn't play as good as we could have," said Hudspeth later. "And we didn't compete as we knew we were going to have to do. I was very disappointed overall and especially with the rebounding."
After a somewhat slow paced first quarter saw Cave City go up 10-6, Caveman Aaron Holley caught fire after being held scoreless in the opening period. Sinking 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second quarter, he helped his team take a 31-16 lead into the locker room.
After the explosion of second quarter points, the second half was a relatively calm affair with an 11-all dead heat in the third period as the Cavemen simply kept pace with the Lions' frantic effort to recover.
In the final stanza, Manila was finally able to eat into the lead some, cutting it by three, but it was far too little much too late as Cave City advanced to the semifinal round with the victory.
The Lions' Trey McCormick tried to keep pace with Holley's scoring output as he knocked down 20 points, including three three-pointers matching Holley's total three treys. He was the only Manila player to reach double figure territory, however, a fact which obviously upset Hudspeth.
"Trey McCormick competed hard," concluded the coach. "He had a good day scoring. He was the only one who really competed, though. When we play again we're going to bring in some of our younger kids to see what they can do."
Following McCormick was Blake Wheeler with eight, Ross Malloy six, Chad Nunally four and Cody Web two.
Justin Felts had 10 to round out the high points for Cave City, who advanced to play Hoxie.
The Lions are next scheduled to take the court in Manila as they host the Gosnell Pirates.