Oak Grove teams take trophies in Lamar County Tourney

By JESSE JOHNSON,

Oak Grove High School’s men’s basketball team put on a scoring clinic last Thursday night as they cruised to a 65-22 win against Purvis Tornadoes to capture the 2019 Lamar County Tournament.

The four county schools squared up as Oak Grove faced Sumrall in the first game and  Lumberton met Purvis. Winners in each game faced each other for the championship with the losers playing for the third and forth spots.

Oak Grove had no problem getting past the first round as they dominated Sumrall 87-27. The Warriors’ size and aggressive full-court pressure proved too much for the Bobcats to handle.

The Lumberton/Purvis matchup was much closer as Purvis pulled away with the overtime win 60-54, setting up a Purvis-Oak Grove matchup with Lumberton facing Sumrall.

Oak Grove point guard Jay Barnes was named MVP of the tournament, mainly because of his dominant performance out of the gate in the championship game. Barnes led all scorers with 23 points with 21 of those in the first half of play. With a comfortable lead, Coach Laron Brumfield subbed in the third- and fourth-string team in the latter quarters.

“I thought Jay came out focused and set the tone for us,” Brumfield said. “I actually saw it in the locker room before the game. I want to make sure that our guys are focused before the game and they stepped up in that area. His shot looked good and he looked fast from the start. Once he got going, I knew the team was going to feed off his tempo and follow his play.”

Oak Grove big man Corneilous Williams showed his dominance down low as he led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. The 6’8” center is starting to gain confidence and take over games in the post positions. Although he only had six points in the championship game, opponents felt his presence as he dominated the boards. Brumfield feels that Williams is starting to believe in his play and realize what a defensive monster and athlete he is becoming.

“Coach Gardner does a lot in practice with the big men on our team,” Brumfield said. “In those sessions we are pushing him to be more aggressive on offense and defense. Coming from where he played previously, he has a habit to be more passive at times. He is starting to believe in himself as the season progresses. I believe that if he continues, his play will be huge for us moving forward.”

The main area that stood out for the Warriors was the aggressive defense the team displayed the entirety of the games. In eight quarters of play the Warriors held each team to 6 points per quarter. A full court press, for the majority of the game, led to converting turnovers to easy buckets. With the size and athleticism, the Warriors were too much for Purvis and Sumrall to handle.

“One thing we wanted to focus on this week was our defensive intensity,” Brumfield said, “coming out and playing hard for 32 minutes. These guys did that. They didn’t let up and kept that intensity the entire game.”

The Warriors started the game with a three pointer by Jay Barnes. The Tornadoes saw an early 4-3 lead with 6:09 in the first quarter. That would be the only lead, as the Warriors went on a 13-0 run with a pair of three pointers by senior sharp shooter Blake Roberts. Purvis scored on an outside shot attempt with the score 21-6 at the end of the first quarter.

After a three-point shot by Cameron Cummings of Purvis, Oak Grove went on a 15-0 run with a suffocating defensive presence. The turnovers led to easy layups as the Warriors ended the half a 43-12 lead.

With the comfortable lead, Brumfield subbed in the third- and fourth-string players the second half. The Warriors outscored Purvis 22-10 in the second half, giving Oak Grove its eighth win of the season.

Logan Thornton led the Tornadoes with seven points, all in the second half, giving Purvis its third loss of the year. Purvis currently has an 11-3 record.

Lumberton edged out Sumrall for the matchup in the losers bracket 61-56.

Named to the all tournament team were Dylan Brumfield and Blake Robert (Oak Grove), Trell Camp (Purvis), Robert Henry (Lumberton), and Patrick Williamson (Sumrall).

The Warriors will travel to Lexington December 26 in a matchup against Holmes County Central. Purvis will continue its next game against Lamar Christian January 3 at Lamar, while Sumrall will travel to Sacred Heart January 3.

OAK GROVE GIRLS

The Oak Grove Lady Warriors ended the Purvis Tornadoes 15-game winning streak as they took home the Lamar County championship trophy. Senior Jada Tatum lead all scorers with 14 as the Warriors pulled away in the second half, 47-37, to win the Lamar County Tournament played last week in Lumberton.

Both teams started the game cold as the score at the end of the first quarter of play was 6-5 in favor of the Lady Tornadoes.

Junior forward Jaelyn Bass lead the Tornadoes with eight points as Purvis held a 20-18 score at the half.

The Tornadoes saw a lead at the 4:51 mark in the second quarter, giving them their last lead of the game. Oak Grove went on an 8-0 run, which eventually lead to a 47-37 win to take home the Lamar County crown.

Bass lead the Tornadoes with 11 points.

“We knew we were not playing well going into the half,” Coach Mark Swindle said. “We tried to pick up the defensive intensity the second half and that played in our favor. Our message to these girls is we have to play hard for the entirety of the game. We can’t wait for things to happen to make us play hard. We have the athleticism to do that, we just lack the motivation at times to stay consistent. Overall, I think we played good at times. We just have to find ways to keep that pace for four quarters.”

Jada Tatum of Oak Grove was named tournament MVP. He rebounding dominance lead to multiple second-chance field goals and she hit consistently from 15 feet out.

Oak Grove (6-5) will travel to Wayne County December 27, while Purvis will try to get back on track traveling to Lamar Christian January 3.

In the losers’ bracket, Lumberton beat Sumrall 45-29. Lumberton pulled away late to give the Lady Panthers a 4-2 record. Lumberton faced Quitman December 21 in the opening round of the North Forrest Tournament. Sumrall will travel to Sacred Heart January 3.

The All-Tournament team consisted of Jada Tatum and Asia Ellzey (Oak Grove), Jada Bass (Purvis), Jameya Johnson (Lumberton), and Tariana Greenwood of Sumrall.