Philly Tornadoes storm past Loyd Star

Published 6:00 pm Friday, February 26, 2021

The Loyd Star Hornets (9-11) were overwhelmed Tuesday night on their home court by a Philadelphia High team that ran at them in waves.

Philly jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead and never looked back on their way to a 73-45 win in the MHSAA 2A playoff first round game.

In Region 6-2A — where Philadelphia finished as the No. 4 seed — most of the teams play a fast paced, pressing style of basketball.

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There would be no walking the ball down the court to settle into half court sets against the Tornado defense.

Loyd Star held their own in the early going but late in the first quarter the turnovers created by the Philadelphia press became too much for the Hornets to handle.

A steal and a layup by Tekavius Bingham of Philadelphia just before the first quarter horn gave PHS a 23-14 lead

Philadelphia is led by former New Hope coach Robert Byrd. Byrd won a 4A state title at New Hope in 2008 and his sideline antics alone were worth the price of the $8 admission to get in the gym Tuesday.

The Tornadoes were called for seven fouls in the first quarter while Loyd Star had only earned three fouls and Byrd didn’t like that — even though his team was playing full court defense while Loyd Star was mostly sitting back in a zone.

With less than three seconds left until halftime another call — actually a non-call —provoked a reaction — actually an overreaction — from Byrd.

Like a 4-year-old after being told that he’d be forced to eat the meal prepared by their parents at home and not get the Happy Meal they badly desired — Byrd ran his hands through his hair as he spasmed in anger on the sideline.

The refereeing crew had their fill of Byrd’s hissy fit at that point and called him for a technical foul.

The second half shockingly went off without another technical being called.

The hole was too deep for the Hornets though as Philly had three players finish in double figures led by Devontae Scott with 23 points.

Casen DeHart scored 12 points to lead Loyd Star. DeHart is a sophomore as is guard Blake Thornton who added seven points. Junior Nathan Calcote added seven points while Julius Smith and Colby Terrell added five points each. Smith is a sophomore and Terrell is a freshman.

Fellow freshman Caden Yarborough added three points while sophomore Carter Holcomb added four points. Sophomore forward Lezeric Brothern scored two points.

Loyd Star only loses three players to graduation in Lawson Smith, Corey Martin and Will McCullough.

“Our young guys really gained a lot of experience this year,” said Loyd Star head coach Seth Britt. “After the game I let them know how proud I was of the hard work they put into the season. No one expected them to win the district tournament after starting 1-7 before division play. They believed in themselves and trusted our system. I didn’t change anything coaching wise, they just became more confident as the season progressed.”

Thursday, Philadelphia went to Biloxi where they were defeated 60-43 by St. Patrick in the second round.