Dallas County avenges earlier loss

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2004

The noise in the adjacent locker room was deafening.

As their coaches quietly celebrated with handshakes in one locker room, the Dallas County High School Hornets exploded in the other.

Sounds of lockers being pounded and players hollering in excitement came after the Hornets’ 70-55 upset victory over the Selma High School Saints on Wednesday night in the Hornets’ Den.

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The victory was only Dallas County’s second in 18 years over the Saints.

Dallas County (3-4) went on a 16-2 run to end the first half, then opened the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run to win their third in a row.

Selma High fell to 1-1.

The victory also avenged a 10-point loss the Hornets suffered at the hands of the Saints last week.

“We knew when we got them back in our house it would be a different game,” Dallas County coach Bill Porter Jr. said. “Coming off a win over Keith on Tuesday and winning an emotional county game like this, it speaks volumes about the heart these guys have. It took that kind of heart to turn it on and take the lead at halftime.”

Trailing 25-19 halfway through the second quarter, the Hornets came to life. Senior forward Michael Johnson followed a miss by Daron Waters, hitting a short baseline jumper and drawing the foul. Johnson completed the three-point play to bring Dallas County to within 25-22.

Junior guard Rafel Miller followed with a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game. Johnson gave the Hornets the lead when he grabbed another rebound, tipped it in and again drew the foul. Johnson’s free-throw gave Dallas County a 28-25 advantage with 2:23 to go before halftime.

Porter said he had no explanation for his team’s sudden offensive burst.

“If I knew what it was,” Porter said, “I’d bottle it and sell it. I got on them in the second quarter about not boxing out. Maybe that’s what it was.”

No matter what it was, the Hornets didn’t stop there. After a Quindell Pernell 5-foot jumper brought the Saints back to within one, Miller hit another three-pointer from the top of the key to stretch the lead back to four, 31-27. Artelious Dixon added a running layup and Johnson a jumper from the right corner to make it 33-27. Miller closed the first half with a pair of free-throws to make it an 8-point Dallas County lead at the half.

“We didn’t execute tonight,” Selma coach Willie Maxey Jr. said. “They’re a very good ball club. They executed and we didn’t.

“The cycle goes around,” Maxey added. “We’re not going to win every game and they’re too good of a program to stay down very long.”

The third period started much the same way as the second ended, with the Hornets on the attack. Josh Spears drained a three-pointer from the right corner to make it 40-29, then took a pass following an Antonio Perry steal and finished with a layup to stretch the Hornets’ lead to 44-32.

The Hornets took their largest lead of the game when Miller stole a Selma pass and took it the distance for the layup and a 56-39 lead with 4:02 to go. Miller led the Hornets with 22 points, while Johnson chipped in 18 and Spears added 16.

John Daily led the Saints with a game-high 25 points.