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Bogue Chitto puts the squeeze on Loyd Star

The Bobcats of Bogue Chitto aren’t just basketball players. They’re magicians.

Friday night, they made Loyd Star disappear during the second quarter, using a fast-hitting defense to hold the Hornets to just three points in the period. The flat performance resulted in a 25-15 Bobcats lead at halftime, and Bogue Chitto stayed 10 points ahead for the rest of the game, frustrating the red shirts in a 60-44 home victory.

“Last time we played them, they shot the ball really well, so we needed to play some help defense and that’s what we did,” said Bogue Chitto junior Malik Richardson. “We had good defense tonight.”

Bogue Chitto’s nose-to-nose defense put Loyd Star in unfamiliar territory — the normally sharp-shooting Hornets were held to an awkward 36 percent shooting percentage, and dynamic junior Dane Smith managed only nine points on the night.

The Bobcats moved the ball with speed and turned Richardson loose in the key. He scored 25 points, soaked up 23 rebounds and was the recipient of most of the team’s 13 assists. Loyd Star had no answer for him.

“We limited their outside shots and forced them to drive on our big man here,” said Bogue Chitto junior Damarcus Godbolt, with a nod to Richardson. “We’ve got great team chemistry. I’ve been playing with these dudes all my life. I love ‘em. We’re playing together with a bunch of heart.”

Bogue Chitto coach Mark Pitts said he was impressed with the play of his junior class.

“We had 2019 guys step up tonight — the first time we’ve ever produced like this in one night,” he said. “Our team is finally figuring out the concept of ‘team.’ Malik doesn’t get 25 points without Jermaine Black. We don’t get 35 rebounds on defense without Darius Porter and Demarcus Goldbolt.”

Loyd Star coach Gene Britt said his team was simply outplayed.

“We had a bad second quarter. We were just going through the motions out there,” he said. “We didn’t execute our offense like we should have. Bogue Chitto got hot with some three-pointers and we didn’t respond very well.”

Bogue Chitto junior Brandon Lewis followed up Richardson’s 25-point outing with 21 points of his own. Godbolt had six points in support, and Porter had five. Black and junior Cameron Gladdens had one point each, while Black led in assists with eight.

Loyd Star senior Patrick Price led his team in scoring, with Smith scoring nine and junior Micah Calcote dropping in eight. Senior Titus Sims also had eight points. Sophomore Stephen Mills scored five, while junior Zabian Price scored four.

The win takes Bogue Chitto to 8-12 on the season, and they’re even at 2-2 in Region 7-2A. They travel to Amite County Friday night.

Loyd Star falls to 7-9 on the season, dropping to third place in Region 7-2A at 3-2. They host Enterprise Tuesday night.