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Munford guard sparks his team to overcome Brighton’s challenge

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Boys Charles Mosley defense Boys Cooper in lane

Munford Cougar guard/forward David Hunter blocks a shot Friday night against rival Brighton. Hunter led the Cougars defensively and offensively to a 57-47 victory.

Munford Cougar guard/forward David Hunter blocks a shot Friday night against rival Brighton. Hunter led the Cougars defensively and offensively to a 57-47 victory.

Boys Hunter on defense Boys Milton Hardy dribble

Butch and Bill Hopkins have seen there share of high school rivalry games.
So among the noise from dueling student sections and energetic Brighton Cardinal and Munford Cougar fan bases, the Hopkins brothers were taking mental notes.
For three quarter Friday night the underdog Brighton Cardinals were pushing the Hopkins-led Cougars to the limit. Entering the fourth quarter the Brighton Gymnasium read 38-35 in favor of Munford.
A couple of adjustments on both the offensive and defensive end by Butch and Bill sparked Cougars to outscore their Tipton County rivals 19-12 leading to a 57-47 victory.
“They were doing a lot of stuff,” Butch said of Brighton. “They were playing a triangle and two, a box and one. They tried to intimidate some of our players by getting in their faces. The referees let them do it. We had to find a way to get everything under control.”
Part of getting his team under control was stopping the Cougars from using a hurry-up offense. Munford rushed through its offense launching quick shots. Meanwhile the Cardinals jumped out 11-8 using a combination of drives to the rim and open jump shots.
Milton Hardy got things started with a jumper. Then his teammate Tyvon Cooper fired a no-look pass to Hardy for a layup making the score 4-0.
Cooper added 4 more points and junior teammate Lorenzo Hunt drained a three-pointer. Cougar guard David Hunter sparked a Munford 5-0 run with a jump shot.
Hunt tied the contest at 13-13 with a put-back bucket. After an Andrea’ Bell free throw put Munford ahead 14-13, Cooper attacked the Cougar defense driving through the lane for two points.
Free throws from Munford’s Kylon Hall and a foul shot by Cardinal Tramaine Cooper tied the contest at 16-16 after one quarter.
Once again Brighton scored the first four points of a quarter with buckets from Tramaine and teammate Kolton Childress. The Cardinals were ahead 22-17 after Tyvon drove to the rim for another layup.
The Cougars clawed back until point guard Reggie Holmes drained a three-pointer giving Munford a 23-22 advantage.
Brighton closed out the second quarter outscoring Munford 7-5 to take a 29-28 lead into the locker room.
“In the second half close to me where I can do a little talking and get us organized,” Butch said, “we begin to move and pick. We begin to understand if we slow down, with them playing combination defenses, if we move they might get a little lost. We did. Hunter got lost. Juane got lost. Once they spread to cover them, we got our big guys some room.”
Hunter and Juane Tolton worked the offense and used patience to create better shot opportunities. Late in the third Tolton hit a three-pointer to make the score 36-35 in favor of Munford.
With the Cougar guard creating space for Bell and the 6’6 Kylon Hall, Munford was ahead by three-points entering the fourth quarter.
Brighton tied the game at 38-38 when Tramaine hit a baseline three-pointer. The Cardinals went ahead 40-38 courtesy of a Hunt layup.
The game would be tied two more times with the final deadlock coming at 44-44. Then a Tolton three-pointer sparked a 13-3 Cougar run to close out the game.
Bell and Hall joined Hunter and Tolton in the scoring outburst. While Munford was tabulating points, the Cardinals had a hard time finding success on the offensive end.
“My brother really helped,” Butch said. “He said, ‘You’ve extended the defense too far. They’re beating us off the dribble and creating seems.’ He said, ‘Back it down.’ So we backed down the defense to take away the driving lanes.”
The Cardinals had to settle for a deep three-pointer with a defender in their face. Brighton could only manage a bank-shot trey to make the final 57-47.

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February 2014
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