Octavious Crear Leads No. 10 LaPoynor To 64-56 Road Win At Sixth-Ranked Martin’s Mill
MARTIN’S MILL — Whenever LaPoynor and Martin’s Mill get together on the basketball court, it’s always a big deal. Ask LaPoynor coach Dean Nuckolls.
“It’s LaPoynor-Martin’s Mill, an old-time rivalry,” he said. “Neither school has football and both schools are straight-basketball pretty much year-round.”
Tuesday night’s game carried even bigger implications as both entered the pivotal District 17-A Division I matchup ranked in the state’s top 10. Senior point guard Octavious Creer’s big fourth quarter carried No. 10 LaPoynor to a 64-56 win over sixth-ranked Martin’s Mill, which created a first-place tie atop the district standings between the two rivals.
Martin’s Mill defeated LaPoynor 55-52 in double overtime in their first district encounter, while LaPoynor took a 49-47 win over the Mustangs in the New Summerfield Tournament at the beginning of the season.
“Obviously it’s important for seeding purposes, but it’s not even about seeding,” Nuckolls said. “Regardless if either team has a chance to do anything in the playoffs, you know both teams are going to give each other a game.”
Crear led the way for LaPoynor (24-4, 8-1), which trailed by double digits in the first half, with 21 points, five steals, four rebounds and two assists. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, coming up with a steal and layup off a Martin’s Mill (21-6, 8-1) inbounds pass to give the Flyers a 60-53 lead with 2:09 remaining.
“He played like a senior point guard should,” Nuckolls said of Crear. “He stepped it up and made key free throws at the end, and that was big.”
Eight different players scored for LaPoynor. Mason Motal had 11 points and four rebounds, James Jackson added 10 points and five boards and JaCorey Williams chipped in with seven points (all in the second half) and five rebounds.
Martin’s Mill was led by its duo of Davis Moore and Hunter Conway. Moore put up a game-high 23 points, which included five 3-pointers, to go with four rebounds and three steals. Conway had 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Moore knocked down three 3-pointers and July Latimer connected on the first of his three field goals from beyond the arc to help Martin’s Mill to a 20-10 lead with 1:08 remaining in the opening quarter.
LaPoynor got back in it, taking a 29-27 lead on a Crear 3-pointer with 1:33 until halftime, but Martin’s Mill got baskets from Conway and Moore to go into the break with a 31-29 lead.
“Davis Moore is a phenomenal player,” Nuckolls said. “He hit three (3-pointers) in the first quarter and at halftime I said ‘guys, we’ve got to make sure we know where (Moore) is.’ He’s the best of what they have. The other guys can definitely hit shots, but Davis Moore is the best and we can’t let him beat us by himself. And in the first half he beat us by himself.”
A Conway free throw gave the Mustangs a 43-39 lead in the third quarter, but LaPoynor closed the period on a 7-0 run to enter the fourth with a 46-43 lead. Williams’ basket was followed by Jackson and Crear combining to go 5 of 6 from the line during the pivotal LaPoynor spurt.
Latimer’s second 3-pointer of the night tied the game at 46-46 with 7:15 remaining, but LaPoynor responded with an 8-0 run on the strength of three baskets from Crear and a layup from Jackson assisted by Lane McClelland.
Conway’s basket trimmed the Martin’s Mill deficit to 56-53 with 2:42 to play, but Xavier Oliver found Motal under the basket for two points, which was immediately followed by Crear’s steal and layup for a seven-point LaPoynor lead.
LaPoynor plays at Beckville, while Martin’s Mill is at Big Sandy on Friday.
No. 10 LaPoynor 64, No. 6 Martin’s Mill 56
District 17-A Division I Boys Basketball
LaPoynor 14 15 17 18 — 64
Martin’s Mill 20 11 12 13 — 56
LaPOYNOR (24-4, 8-1) — Octavious Crear, 21; Mason Motal, 11; James Jackson, 10; JaCorey Williams, 7; Lane McClelland, 6; Colton Clair, 5; Wade Lang, 2; Xavier Oliver, 2.
MARTIN’S MILL (21-6, 8-1) — Davis Moore, 23; Hunter Conway, 20; July Latimer, 9; Dylan Weatherford, 4.
THREE-POINT GOALS — LaPoynor: Crear, McClelland. Martin’s Mill: Moore (5), Latimer (3).