By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In the regular season, the Brighton Cardinals and Dyer County Choctaws split two games with the home teams winning. The Choctaws entered the District 13-3A Boys Basketball Tournament championship game as the No. 1 seed. The No. 2 seeded Cardinals had the home court on their side as the hosting team.
After a feeling out period in the first quarter, Dyer County exploded with a 7-2 run to close out the first quarter leading 14-5. The Choctaws used their inside presences to dominate the boards and seize control of the contest winning 58-41.
“One, we couldn’t make shots,” Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin said. “We had good shot selection, getting the shots we wanted.
“But the layups, free throws, mid-range jump shots, three-pointers, we shot 15 percent,” he added. “Shooting 15 percent in the first half you can’t expect to beat anybody. We dug ourselves a deep, deep hole.”
Brighton’s deficit was 26-8 at halftime. The Cardinals shot better in the third quarter with senior guard Colby Butler leading the way with a pair of three-pointers.
And Brighton’s All-Tournament selection Zach Lewis made a couple of triples in the fourth quarter, but the Choctaws matched Brighton trey for trey down the stretch to prevail.
Lewis was joined by teammates Taelyr Gatlin and Tramaine Cooper as All-Tournament selections for Brighton.
The Cardinals advance to Region 7-3A Tournament action hosting the opening round contest against Bartlett Saturday with a 7 p.m. tipoff. Dyer County as the champions of the district will host Arlington in Round One action.
In District 13-3A action, Hardin County outlasted the Munford Cougars 48-43 in the consolation game. The Tigers will travel to Bolton in Regional action Saturday night. Meanwhile the Cougars will be heading to District 14-3A champions Cordova the same night. All games are scheduled to tip at 7 p.m.