By Troy LaFleur
SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN PRESS
MOSS BLUFF — The Sam Houston Battle at the Bluff tournament tipped off in grand style Thursday night with a high-scoring contest between local favorites Washington-Marion and Iowa.
The Yellow Jackets could not match the pace of the Charging Indians, who won 102-80.
W-M guard Josh Gray scored a game-high 43 points, 31 of which came in the first half, to go along with six rebounds and three steals. A majority of his points came from behind the 3-point arc, as he drained seven of 11 3-point attempts.
“Josh finally had a good game. We’ve been waiting for him to break out of his slump and he did all right tonight,” said W-M head coach Albert Hartwell.
The Indians held the lead for almost the entire game, with the lone exception being a 20-second span in which the score was tied at seven during the first quarter. They regained the lead by going on an 18-6 scoring run, and finished the first quarter with a 31-22 lead.
The second quarter was when Gray broke loose, draining all five of his 3-point attempts as W-M took a 57-41 lead at the half.
Despite having a strong night on the boards, the Yellow Jackets (6-4) did not piece together a comeback in the third quarter. W-M (4-1) kept up its fast pace, led by second-half performances from Desharick Guidry and Chris Bell.
Guidry was second on the team with 20 points to go along three blocks and a team-high 13 rebounds. Bell managed 10 points and three assists in the second half as the Indians held a 20-point lead entering the final quarter.
The fourth quarter saw a majority of the W-M reserves seeing playing time, and Iowa’s Ray Jenkins scoring eight of his 12 points, as the Indians closed out the game for their fourth win of the season.
The Yellow Jackets managed to outrebound the Indians 41-37 with Dylan Williams leading the way with 15 boards to go along with his 19 points. Jenkins had 10 rebounds.
Wayne Stansberry led the Yellow Jackets with 24 points.
However, the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 17 times compared to eight for W-M.
“We’ve been working on getting turnovers a lot in practice,” Hartwell said. “The boys did a good job, they have been practicing hard and working hard and it showed up in the game.”
The Indians look to continue their success with a matchup of the area’s best tonight as they go head-to-head with the LaGrange Gators.
“We just want to come out and play good for the rest of the tournament,” Hartwell said. “We just want to do our best and try to get better because we’re still young and we really need to find our identity.”
Courtesy of the American Press of Lake Charles