Chicks get first victory, beat rival Seminoles
After losing their first five games of the year, the Blytheville Chickasaws put all of the pieces together and defeated their longtime rival, Osceola, 68-51, Thursday night in front of an energetic crowd at Chickasaw Gym.
The Chicks completed a three-game sweep as the boys "B" team defeated the Seminoles, 45-43 in overtime and the senior high girls also won going away, 64-35.
"If anyone was wondering, that was the monkey jumping off my back and running down the street," said Chickasaw head coach Jeff Flanigan, who in the process picked up his first win as head of the Chickasaws.
If Flanigan was feeling any pressure for not winning a game this season, his players certainly weren't, especially in the first half. Blytheville (1-5) was hitting on all cylinders, offensively and defensively. The Chicks scored 25 first-period points and forced nine turnovers on their way to a 25-17 lead after the first eight minutes.
"We came out very intense tonight," said Flanigan. "I saw it in their eyes after Sikeston and in the walk around today. They wanted it."
The Chicks continued their run in the second period. Blytheville forced another seven turnovers and opened the period on a 16-3 run as they led, 41-20, with three minutes to play and led 46-26 going into the break thanks to a Damion Wilson three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Chicks made four three point attempts in the half, including two from center Larry Bolden. Blytheville even hit from the free throw line. The Chicks hit 12 of their 14 attempts from the charity stripe, all in the first half.
"They (Blytheville) just shot the ball so well and we didn't force any turnovers," said Osceola head coach Frankie Gathen. "We were trying to force turnovers in the back court to lead to easy baskets but we didn't do that until the third quarter."
Osceola made a run at the Chicks in the third period. After a Juwan Owens bucket gave the Chicks a 26-point lead at 52-26, the Seminoles ran off eight in a row, part of a 20-4 run that carried over until three minutes left in the fourth period.
"They're still learning how to finish," said Flanigan of his team. "They're still learning how to play in this atmosphere. I told them at halftime that is was 0-0. We had to get back to doing what got us here. That's when my seniors stepped up."
Blytheville finished the game with a 12-5 run to hold of the Seminoles, with seniors Wilson, Bolden, Norderres McKillion, Johnae Guyton and Shaquille Smith scoring all 12 of the points.
Blytheville now has a week off before heading to West Memphis to play in the West Memphis Classic next Friday and Saturday.
As for Osceola, coach Gathen feels that there are better days ahead.
"We're going to be alright," he said. "We've got some kids out now that we'll get back after Christmas. So, right now, this is a learning experience. Anytime you play a team as good as Blytheville, whether you win or lose, you use it as a learning experience."
Osceola has the weekend to prepare for a tough 3-3A opponent next Tuesday in Earle.
For the game, four Chicks scored in double figures. Bolden led with 15 points, Wilson added 14 and had five steals, McKillion scored 12 and Smith chipped in 10.
Quaylan Estell led all scorers with 19 for the Seminoles and Tevin James added 10.
Blytheville 64, Osceola 35
Ahead, 9-6, at the end of the first period, the Blytheville Lady Chickasaws outscored Osceola, 21-7, in the second half and ran away with a 64-35 win over the Lady Seminoles.
Blytheville (1-5) forced 10 second period turnovers and held Osceola scoreless for the first four minutes of the period. Senior Iesha Humphrey scored 10 of her game-high 16 points in the period off of the bench and forced four of the 10 turnovers in the period as well.
The Lady Chicks led 28-13 at halftime. Osceola cut the lead to as little as 10 in the third but could never get the game under double-digits.
Jabruna Brimlett's three-pointer near the end of the period gave Blytheville a 38-25 advantage heading into the final frame.
Blytheville opened the period on a 17-6 run, forced 11 turnovers in the period and cruised to the victory.
Humphrey led all scorers with 16 and Dejah Prude added 14 for the Lady Chicks.
Kalesha Gibson led Osceola with 14 points.
The senior girls are off until December 14 when they head to Sylvan Hills.