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Loyd Star fouls up at Wesson

The Wesson Cobras collected a week’s worth of fouls from the Loyd Star Hornets Tuesday night, living at the stripe all game and scoring a third of their points off free throws in a 65-49 win.

The Cobras’ fast-attack offense charged into a jungle of hands, arms and body bounces as the Hornets struggled to get in position against the lean athletes in blue and white. The referees powered up their whistles all night for a whopping 21 personal fouls that sent Wesson to the free throw line for 35 bonus shots. Cobra junior Shemar Dickerson drew most of those fouls and made himself right at home on the line, hitting 19 of his 25 attempts.

“They left the lane open, so when I see that I make the call and I just take it,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson led his team in scoring with 32 points, more than half of those dropping through the net as free throws. As a team, the Cobras were 24 of 35 from the line.

Wesson junior K.D. Allen also charged the basket in transition, scoring 22 points of his own, but only drew one foul and hit both his free throw attempts.

Loyd Star couldn’t seem to draw any fouls, either.

While the second half slowed to a crawl with Dickerson laying in free throws non-stop, the officials only offered the Hornets 12 free throw attempts on the night, eight of which were successful. Loyd Star junior Dane Smith hit five free throws on his way to a breakout 28-point night, but no one backed him up — four other Hornets scored, but none more than seven points.

“He’s their biggest threat. We knew he could shoot, so we focused on him,” said Wesson junior Slay Acy. “He still scored on us, but we got in his face and kept the team from scoring enough to beat us.”

With Dickerson and Allen pouring on points, the rest of the Cobras didn’t have to do too much. Sophomore Kenner Bizot scored nine points while Acy took a break from hard-nosed defense long enough to drop in his only layup.

“Our athleticism took its toll on them,” said Wesson coach Rusty Newman. “We’re a deep team, so I can sub when I need to and we were eventually able to just pull away. I’m proud of my guys for a good team win.”

For Loyd Star, senior Titus Sims scored seven points, while junior Zabian Price and sophomore Stephen Mills scored five. Junior Jett Calcote finished out Hornets’ scoring with four points.

The Hornets played sound basketball — they changed up their offensive tactics to get penetration when they needed it and passed the ball well against Wesson’s full-court defense, and there wasn’t really a single moment where the Cobras put the game away. But Loyd Star played the whole game from behind and wasn’t able to stop the Cobras from attacking inside to collect fouls.

“We tried to slow it down to start with and it was working pretty good, but we made too many mental mistakes. We missed four layups in the first half,” said Loyd Star coach Gene Britt. “When you get to the hoop you gotta put it in.”

It was a weird game, with a few funny moments and a few not-so-funny moments.

The funniest moment came at the halftime buzzer, when Loyd Star’s Smith flew in from nowhere, went over Allen’s head for a flying rebound and laid it up for two easy points to close the score to 30-20. Wesson’s coach was not pleased.

Newman yelled about ineffective defense as a confused Allen skulked toward the locker room. Newman probably felt better in the third quarter, when Allen dropped two big bombs from the three-point arc to keep the Cobras out front.

Another funny moment came earlier when Acy was getting set to guard Smith. The two fighters had a pleasant exchange during a long substitution, pointed at the scoreboard and finally had to get the nearest official to settle their friendly dispute.

“No, you guys are the visitors,” the official told Smith, who laughed at himself, embarrassed, while Acy clowned him just a little. Smith was probably hoping against hope his Hornets had the bigger number, listed on the scoreboard as “HOME.” 

Less funny was a tense moment toward the end of the game when Wesson sophomore Damien Smith, displeased at his lack of playing time, got emotional and had to be escorted outside the gym to calm down. Newman allowed him back inside to shake hands with the Hornets after the final buzzer.

The win takes Wesson to 8-2 on the year, with their only losses coming to East Marion and Crystal Springs. They play the Bears at West Lincoln tomorrow night.

Loyd Star falls to 4-6, and they host Enterprise tonight.