Big First Quarter Propels Kountze to 72-50 Win Over Central Heights
TENAHA -- If you force 10 first-quarter turnovers, chances are you're up big entering the second period.
Indeed Kountze was Thursday. Class 2A's No. 6 Lions used those 10 first-quarter Central Heights turnovers to build a 24-point lead going to the second and cruise to a 72-50 win Thursday's quarterfinal at the Tenaha Holiday Hoops tournament at the Special Events Center.
Kountze (17-3), which plays Tenaha at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a tournament semifinal at the Special Events Center, shot 14-for-24 in the first quarter thanks in large part to the aforementioned turnovers, which were a product of a high-intensity, pestering defense that Central Heights (9-10) struggled to cope the entire game. Kountze took a 33-9 lead into the second and led 49-23 at halftime.
Kountze's Marcus Williams hit his first seven shots and finished with 20 points and eight rebounds (seven offensive), while Jamazdon Powell had 14 points, three assists, and three steals. Dante McMahon had 13 points, four rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Justin Harper added 13 points.
Central Heights' Keaton Fontenot had a big game in the loss. The junior post had a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds and showed the ability to score in a variety of ways, including from three-point range and in the paint. Teammate Blake Power had seven points, while Joel Badders had six.
Kountze freshman guard Grayland Arnold didn't score, but had five assists and two steals and played tough defense. Xavier Barnes had eight points and four boards.
Kountze led 56-23 early in the third, but Central Heights carved into the Kountze lead throughout the second half, closing to within 15 points, 62-47, with 4:07 remaining. The Lions answered with a 6-0 run in the following minute to end the Blue Devils' hopes of a huge comeback.
Central Heights plays San Augustine at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Special Events Center in a fifth-place bracket contest.
Tenaha Holiday Hoops
No. 6 Kountze 72, Central Heights 50
Special Events Center, Tenaha
Kountze -- 33 16 12 11 -- 72
Central Heights -- 9 14 12 15 -- 50
Kountze (17-3) -- Marcus Williams 20, Jamazdon Powell 14, Justin Harper 13, Dante McMahon 13, Xavier Barnes 8, J.J. Edwards 4.
Central Heights (9-10) -- Keaton Fontenot 22, Blake Power 7, Joel Badders 6, Tanner Garner 5, Dez Rodgers 5, Clark Rab 3, Brett Smith 2.