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Cougars take round one over Dyer County

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Munford Bell in lane Munford David Hunter driveMunford Reggie Holmes dribble

Champion vs. champions could have been on the marquee for Dyer County’s visit to Munford last Friday night.
But for several spectators coming out of the rain into the Munford Gymnasium, it was hard to put a label on the District 13-3A showdown. Last season Robert Hubbs led the Dyer County Choctaws to the regular-season crown.
Then it was Munford’s turn to claim a title when Jonathan Starks sparked the Cougars to the District 13-3A Tournament championship. Now Hubbs is at Tennessee on the hardwood and Starks is having success at Tulane.
Although both Munford and Dyer County have had solid starts to the season, the question remained. Who is the better team in the district? After 32 minutes Friday night, the answer is the Munford Cougars for now winning 73-70.
The first 8 minutes of the contest seemed to give both teams a chance to feel each other out with Dyer County grabbing a 16-13 advantage. In the second quarter it appeared the Choctaws were ready to run away with the game.
After Andrea’ Bell scored in the lane giving the Cougars a 19-18 lead, Dyer County proceeded with a 16-6 run to take a 34-25 lead. Kylon Hall stopped the Choctaws’ momentum with a layup. His teammate Reggie Holmes made a free throw shortly before the buzzer to make the halftime score 34-38 in favor of Dyer County.
But Holmes was just getting warmed up.
“As a point guard I always look to get my team involved first,” Holmes said. “Then it came a time for me to step up.
“I just felt it was my time to take over,” he added. “I told Coach that I had his back before the game and to let me loose and play ball.”
Munford Head Coach Butch Hopkins gave his sophomore guard the green light midway through the third quarter. But before it became “The Reggie Holmes Show,” the Choctaws built its advantage to 46-30 after an alley-oop slam.
The Cougars chipped away at the deficit with Holmes getting his teammates involved like Titus Mathews, David Hunter, Juane Tolton and Bell. Munford only trailed 49-44 entering the fourth quarter.
The change in quarters brought the shooter out of Holmes. The guard nailed a jumper to ake the score 51-47. Seconds later Holmes drained a three-pointer to bring the Cougars within a point.
Bell used two of his 18 points to tie the game at 52-52. Munford tied the game again at 59-59 when Holmes hit another triple this time in transition.
Holmes’ next shot swang momentum and brought the Munford faithful to its feet. He hit another three-pointer this time drawing a foul. The four-point play gave the Cougars a 63-59 advantage.
Disturbing the ball again, Holmes located teammates to build a 69-62 lead. Munford hit just enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
“Basketball is always a team sport,” Holmes said. “We practice as a team and play as a team. We win as a team.”
Holmes had 25 points in the win. Leaving the court, the Cougars felt good about the victory over their league rivals. But Holmes said this was just one game.
“It gives us a great confidence,” he concluded. “And it also gives us some bragging rights. We have to keep it up and have to try to keep it going. But we will see them again.”

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December 2013
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