Whether they were getting out in transition, grabbing offensive rebounds or just taking advantage of penetration in their half-court sets, the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets had little trouble getting the ball to the rim Monday against Thomas Walker. Meanwhile, the Pioneers were forced to rely on jump shots and it all added up to a 62-41 win for MHS.
Junior guard Donnie Foister led the Jackets with 18 points, while forward Austin Poindexter added 17 points and ten rebounds and senior forward Zach Riddle also double-doubled with 14 points and ten boards. Michael Wilson finished with five points and 11 assists in the game.
“Everybody across the board was productive tonight and as a unit playing together we just want to try and improve,” said Jacket coach Russell Thompson. “We wanted to get out and push the ball in transition and I thought we did a better job deciding what was a good shot and when it wasn’t there pulling it out executing our offense.
“It’s a sign of a special team when they’re unselfish like that and willing to make the extra pass. They like sharing the ball and trying to set a man up to finish.”
Thomas Walker was led by Zack Bailey’s 16 points. Cody Bryant finished with 11 and Justin Catron added six.
The Pioneers got 3-pointers from Bryant, Catron and Bailey in the first quarter but those were their only nine points. Riddle scored eight of his points in the first quarter, Poindexter put in five off the bench, Foister scored four and Wilson and Derek Smith added baskets as Middlesboro roared out to a 21-9 lead and never looked back.
“Thomas Walker is a good, scrappy team that plays hard,” Thompson said. “We had a good run there at the beginning and jumped out to a pretty good lead and were able to cushion that as the game went on.”
It was 35-17 by halftime and the Jackets led by as many as 26 in the third quarter after a Boone Bowling putback made it 51-26.
Thirty of Thomas Walker’s point came courtesy of ten 3-pointers and Bryant hit a pair late in the third quarter as they closed the gap to 55-33 going into the fourth. Bailey hit two 3s in the final period, but the Jackets went on to win by 21.
“It was a good night all around. Boone had six rebounds, Blake Davis didn’t shoot the ball all that well but he and Derek Smith with their defensive effort really gave us a lift. Those are things that don’t show up in the stat sheet, but when you’re leading us defensively the coach pays attention to that,” Thompson added.
Middlesboro (2-0) visits Oneida Baptist this evening with the varsity game scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Thomas Walker hosts Cumberland Gap in a triple-header with a JV boys game starting at 5 p.m. followed by girls and boys varsity games.
— — —
Thomas Walker… 9… 8… 16… 8 — 41
Middlesboro……. 21…14… 20…7 — 62
THOMAS WALKER (41): Zach Bailey 16, Cody Bryant 11, Justin Catron 6, Tyler Scott 4, Justin Greer 2, Hunter Cope 2, Dilon Overton 0, Nick Williams 0, Thomas Warf 0, Cody Carter 0, Matthew Glass 0, Brandon Fields 0.
MIDDLESBORO (62): Donnie Foister 18, Austin Poindexter 17, Zach Riddle 14, Michael Wilson 5, Boone Bowling 4, Derek Smith 2, Brandon Hale 2, Blake Davis 0, Tyshon Kincaide 0, Major Edwards 0, Abishek Singh 0, Matthew Mike 0, Devon Williams 0.