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Enterprise splits 2020 hoops finale

The Enterprise Yellow Jackets concluded the 2020 portion of their basketball schedule Friday with a set of games against the visiting Purvis Tornadoes.

In the opening girls’ game, Purvis kept its record perfect (11-0) with a 56-24 victory.

In the boys’ matchup, EAC trailed by two points at halftime but used some timely shooting in the final two quarters to take a 56-46 win over the 4A Tornadoes.

The Purvis girls are ranked as one of the top 4A teams in the state in a couple different polls.

They led Enterprise 15-8 after the first quarter, but the game felt closer than that score or the halftime deficit of 33-15.

Enterprise had success scrambling around defensively to create turnovers, but they struggled shooting the ball.

“Scoring the ball is something that we’ve not been very consistent with this season,” said Enterprise head coach Shane Adams. “We were better in our last game against Salem, but tonight we didn’t get many second chance opportunities. Purvis hurt us with their rebounding.”

Adams coaches both Enterprise basketball teams. He has four seniors on his girls’ team and the Lady Jackets are 3-4 on the year after having several games canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

Seniors for Enterprise are Shauna Hewitt, K.K. Jones, Emma Waldrop and Natalie Harris.

Hewitt, Jones and Harris start alongside sophomore point guard Hannah Jergins and junior center Alexandra McGee.

Harris led the way with 10 points against Purvis and Hannah Jergins chipped in five points. McGee scored three points while Hewitt, Ashlyn Bland and Ainslee Jergins each added two points apiece.

The Lady Jackets have already matched their win total from last season and one can reason that they missed out on some more potential victories with games being canceled this season.

“I’m never one for moral victories, but I told the girls after the game that I didn’t want them to hang their head after tonight,” said Adams. “They scrapped and fought against a bigger team and never gave up.”

Purvis coach Michael Thornton had 10 of his players score in the win, led by Elise Jackson with 15 points.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets got a measure of revenge after losing twice last season to Purvis.

Friday, it was sophomore guard Payne Waldrop who had the hot hand for EAC as the sophomore guard knocked down six 3-pointers and led all scorers with 20 points.

The Jackets don’t have a lot of height with few players on their roster much taller than 6 feet.

What they do well is share the ball, though, as they show a patience to move the basketball and move when the ball isn’t in their hands.

“We’ve got a veteran group and they trust each other,” said Adams. “They all cut and move without the ball and tonight it was Payne that had the hot-hand. I know for any team shooting the ball well is going to be a key to winning, but it’s really important for us since we don’t get much scoring close to the goal.”

Waldrop starts alongside senior point guard Hib Johnson, senior guard Anthony Nations, junior guard Brayden Polk and junior forward Taylor Presley.

That quintet provided almost all of the EAC scoring against Purvis as Presley scored 14 points and Johnson added nine. Nations scored seven points while Polk added three points.

Off the bench, the Jackets got two points from senior Dylan Carter and one point from Matthew Burns.

The Enterprise boys’ team is 4-3 on the season and already has non-division wins over region and county rivals West Lincoln and Loyd Star. The Jackets are scheduled to return to the court and begin region play on Tuesday, Jan. 5, when they host Amite County.