ASD’s full-court defensive pressure proved to be critical to the win. Eddie Thomas had two steals less than one minute into the game. On the second steal, he was able to make an easy layup to give the team an early 2-0 lead.
“The team did a good job of man-to-man defense,” head coach Walter Ripley said through an interpreter.
“We struggled in the first half. We were stymied. We missed a lot of shots—we missed the easy shots, we missed a lot of layups; but we worked hard the whole game. We pressured to make them make many mistakes. Players can’t win just playing offense, but they can win playing good defense. I learned that from coach (Don) Hackney.”
2013 marks the 29th year for the Hackney Classic, which was originally called the Bama Classic. When Hackney retired, the event he masterminded took on his namesake.
“It spread to other schools wanting to have some kind of a classic,” Ripley said. “We travel to other states sometimes and play in their classics and it was all Hackney’s idea.”
Later in the first quarter, Anthony Scott came up with a steal and ensuing layup to give ASD a 6-2 lead.
Ricky Church closed out the first quarter for MSD with a steal and layup to cut ASD’s lead to 10-4.
Thomas opened the second quarter with a rebound and putback to give ASD a 12-4 lead. Thomas scored again in the post, this time with a nice pass from Uriah Stallworth. Thomas closed out the first half by making one of two free throws to give ASD a 21-9 lead.
ASD gained a decisive lead in the third quarter after going on a 12-0 run. Thomas started the run by hitting two free throws and then made a basket in the post off an assist by Scott. Matthew Lowry converted a three-point play with a rebound and putback and hitting the ensuing free throw. Thomas came up with another steal and layup and Lowry capped the drive with another three-point play to give ASD a 37-14 lead. Marques Vickers had a rebound and putback for MSD as time expired at the end of the third quarter to put the score at 37-16.
Early in the fourth quarter, ASD continued to rely on their defense. Thomas had a steal and pushed the ball ahead to Rydrea Walker for an easy layup. Scott followed that up with a steal and coast-to-coast layup to give ASD a 41-16 lead.
Perhaps the prettiest play of the game came in the fourth quarter with the outcome more or less decided. Stallworth stole the ball and proceeded to run the distance of the court, weaving through three different defenders while in transition to complete a layup for two points to give ASD a 45-17 lead. With Stallworth providing the veteran leadership, several of ASD’s backup players were able to gain valuable playing time, both in the game against MSD and earlier in the tournament on Friday night.
“They enjoyed that a whole lot, the young group,” Ripley said. “They’re doing a good job. They’re learning to be leaders in playing.”
Eddie Thomas led the team in scoring, finishing with 19 points. Uriah Stallworth scored eight points, Matthew Lowry had six points and Anthony Scott contributed five points.
The win moved the team to an overall record of 4-4.
They play at TC Central Tuesday with tipoff schedule for 7:30 p.m.