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Hornets take Trojans 46-53, claim No. 1 spot in region

They fell down together, grappling for the basketball in a twist of white and black.

Loyd Star senior Patrick Price went down on his back with the ball sucked up to his gut, and when he gave it a hard yank, he pulled Amite County’s Terrion Rogers over with it. Whistles blew and officials came running in and still they wrestled for control on the wood.

Once separated, Rogers clapped hard at Price. The officials gave the Hornets possession, and Price clapped back. Both players were sent to their benches to calm down for a few minutes.

“Everybody knew what the stakes were and I just got a little emotional,” said Price. “It was an emotional night and I wanted to put on a show for the people.”

He did. After a few minutes of chill time, Price returned to the court and slapped a Trojans’ inbound pass up into the rafters and stole it on the descent, kicking off a 10-3 Loyd Star run to end the first half that went a long way toward the Hornets’ 46-43 victory on senior night. They finished the night No. 1 in Region 7-2A.

“We kept our composure, didn’t get out of sync and slowed the game down,” Price said.

Slowing the game was essential for the Hornets’ win, as Amite County was fast and rangy. The Trojans boxed out masterfully on defense, allowing Loyd Star only two offensive boards for the game. They also forced the Hornets into 18 turnovers and gave up only four steals.

The stats were underwhelming, but Loyd Star did just enough. They won a defensive battle in the first quarter 6-4, then turned it on the second period 17-8, leading by six at halftime, 23-17. Both offenses gained momentum in a 13-12 third quarter won by Loyd Star, and the Hornets had to hang on late to survive Amite County’s 14-10 final period.

The Trojans accounted for everyone in their big fourth quarter except Loyd Star junior Jett Calcote, who broke free to score eight of the team’s last 10 points.

“I was just having a good night playing defense,” he said. “They always threw the ball straight across the court and I read it to get in position.”

Calcote led the team in scoring with 17 points. Junior Dane Smith followed him with 13, while Price and fellow senior Titus Sims scored six points each. Junior Zabian Price scored four and led in rebounds with six.

Schmar Bonds led the Trojans in scoring with nine points. Tyrese Hackett scored eight, while LanTravious Franklin scored seven and D’Kenyance Roberts scored six. Rogers and Kentrel Steptoe scored five each, and Cameron Chapman scored three.

“I thought we played really good tonight,” said Loyd Star coach Gene Britt. “In the last quarter we kind of got out of sync, took some bad shots, but we held our composure and sealed the game when we had to.”

The Hornets are on a five-game win streak since they lost to Bogue Chitto Jan. 26. In that span they defeated 5A North Pike, and now West Lincoln and Amite County, who have traded the No. 1 spot in Region 7-2A around since Christmas.

“We’re playing good at the right time,” Britt said.

The win ends Loyd Star’s regular season at 12-9, with a region record of 6-2. They earned the No. 1 seed in the region and can rest until Thursday, when they take on the winner of today’s matchup between Bogue Chitto and Enterprise in the region tournament.

Amite County ends its regular season at 9-14 and 6-2 in the region. They face West Lincoln Thursday in the tournament.