By Kyle Lovern
RED JACKET – The Mingo Central Miners swept past the Herbert Hoover Huskies 64-40 on Thursday night at the MCHS gym.
It made a season sweep of the Huskies for the Miners in Cardinal Conference play.
Mingo Central coach Brad Napier experimented with his starting lineup and played several different combinations in the game.
He also premiered a 1-3-1 zone defense with long-armed newcomer Dikembe Dixson up on the top.
“I wanted to have a different starting lineup and use some different combinations,” Napier said. He wants to develop some depth heading into the home stretch of the regular season as teams head toward the sectional tournament.
“I thought our ball movement was much better,” Napier said of his team’s offense. The Miners shot 26-46 from the floor for 57 percent. “We had 18 assists, which shows we were moving the ball around.”
“I also thought our defense was good. Herbert Hoover shoots the ball well, but when you can hold them to 40 points, it shows we hustled on defense,” Napier said. The zone defense helped cut down the passing zones of the Huskies, who still hung around in the early part of the game.
“I thought Chase Hatfield played well,” Napier said of the senior guard.
The lone negative for the Miners was that once again they did not rebound the ball the way Napier and his staff wants them to. “That is something we need to work on,” Napier added.
Mingo Central led 16-12 after one quarter of play and 30-24 at the half. They inched farther ahead in the third quarter building their lead to 41-30 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was also Mingo Central. The Miners went on a 15-0 run, starting off on a dunk by Dixson, followed up by a 3-pointer by Mallie May and a layup by Dixson. May then hit another trey, followed by a 3-pointer by Chase Hatfield and a breakaway steal and dunk by Alex “Booger” Lee. When all was said and done, Mingo Central built their lead to 58-33, before a technical was assessed on Dixson for hanging on the rim on another dunk attempt.
Napier argued the call because he felt Dixson was just trying to protect himself when the HHS player was underneath him. The two foul shots broke the run, but the Miners coasted to the win as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Dixson led the Miners with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, including 3 dunks. Lee had 13 points and 2 dunks. Chase Hatfield finished with 11 points, including three 3-pointers and Adam Dillon, who got a start, finished with 8 points.
The Miners made 7-19 from behind the arc, which helped balance out their inside-outside game.
Matt Justice led the Huskies with 20 points, while Hunter White chipped in 10.
Mingo Central, now 7-7 (4-4) was scheduled to make up a game on Saturday night at Tolsia.
Score by quarters:
HHS – 12 12 6 10 – 40
MCHS – 16 14 11 23 – 64
Herbert Hoover (40) – White 10, Justice 20, Burgess 3, Holbrook 3 and Wood 2.
Mingo Central (64) – Hammond 2, D. Hatfield 1, Lee 13, Hatcher 0, Dillon 8, C. Hatfield 11, Dixson 20, Joplin 0 and Endicott 3.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)