DCHS falls to Choctaws

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 16, 2005

It was supposed to resemble a championship fight, two of the area’s finest teams standing toe-to-tie in a battle for supremacy.

However, the clash for area supremacy turned more into a show of dominance by the Bibb County Choctaws.

Forward Clay Jones drained seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points as the Choctaws claimed the top spot in Class 4A, Area 6 with an 87-76 win over the Hornets.

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Dallas County dropped to 8-9 overall and 3-1 in area play.

Jones was left open numerous times, especially in the corners, where he easily had time to line up his shots. The 6-foot-3 Jones sank four of his long-distance shots in the first half as the Choctaws rallied from a 23-12 first-quarter deficit.

“We gave (Jones) too many open looks,” Dallas County coach Bill Porter Jr. said. “That comes down to us not having the proper rotation in our zone defense.”

Along with not executing their defense, the Hornets also got away from their game plan on offense.

Dallas County built its early lead by getting the ball to forward Michael Johnson on the low post. Johnson was able march through Bibb County’s man-to-man defense, taking the ball to the hoop and drawing fouls. Johnson finished the first half with 15 points.

Johnson’s interior authority, however, quickly disappeared as the Choctaws began doubling down on the big man. Bibb County’s double-teaming kept Johnson on the perimeter and prevented him any open looks. Johnson scored just six points in the first half.

“Our philosophy,” Porter said, “was and always has been to get the ball down low to Mike. As we started falling behind, Mike went to the outside.

“Our size was superior to theirs,” Porter added. “We were supposed to get Mike the ball and he would get it back to the guards. That’s our plan when they double-team him.”

With their inside force handled, the Hornets were pressed to outside, where they managed a half-dozen three-pointers in the second half. But turnovers and a lack of rebounding took Dallas County out of the game.

“We had a lack of intensity and rebounding at both ends of the court,” Porter said.

After taking a 44-40 halftime lead, the Choctaws turned to Jones’ perimeter game and forward Arthur Smith inside presence to take over. Jones’ second of three 3-pointers in the second half put Bibb County ahead 67-55 with 3:16 left in the game.

Later in the period, Smith grabbed Jones’ pass and faked out the Dallas County defense for an easy lay-up to give the Choctaws a 74-65 advantage.

Dallas County battled back and cut the margin to 78-73 on Antonio Perry’s three-pointer. But Smith’s offensive rebound and put-back, followed by Jon Underwood’s steal and subsequent free throws stretched Bibb County’s lead back to 82-73 with 1:07 remaining.