Tigers post opening-round win over Hackberry

Jalen Outley (13) totaled six points he scored for Simsboro Friday night as the Tigers defeated Hackberry. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)


By T. Scott Boatright

Simsboro coach Randy Carlisle liked the beginning and ending of Friday night’s 77-64 win for the 15th-seed Tigers over 18th-seeded Hackberry in the opening round of the Division V Non-Select School playoffs.

It’s the middle of the win over the Mustangs that has Carlisle concerned despite being proud of his team’s win.

“That was hard to do the way they were shooting NBA (distance) threes, I mean, Good Lord, they were shooting some kind of shots and making them,” Carlisle said of holding on for the win. “Those threes kept them in it – kept us from putting them away.”

The Mustangs made 10 3-pointers on the night, overcoming a 21-point halftime deficit at 43-22 to pull within 13 points heading into the final quarter of play at 60-47.

And Hackberry would get as close as 11 points back with 1:51 remaining before a free throw by Earnest Chatman at the 1:40 mark of the fourth quarter pushed the Tigers’ advantage to 73-61.

Simsboro’s Trumarion Smith followed that up with a quick steal and a score to push the Tigers’ lead to 75-61 five seconds later.

While admittedly relishing the win, Carlisle also admitted it was the fact that his team didn’t take advantage of chances they received that has him concerned.

“We did some crazy things at crazy times,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to play smarter than that. We were fortunate to get out of here with the win.

“When you’ve got somebody down the way we did tonight, that’s when you go for the kill by taking and making smart shots. You’ve got to shoot high-percentage shots. But we didn’t do that. We didn’t shoot high-percentage shots. We were still just jacking them up there without any thought no matter what. You can’t get away with that and go on a playoff run. That’s what I’m trying to get this team to understand.”

Chatman led the Tigers with 25 points while Smith added 16, Itavious Brown chipped in with seven and Kelip Wright and Jalen Outley hit for six points each to help spur the Tigers to the win.

“It was good to see everybody involved — everybody played hard, that’s how we won,” Carlisle said. “But you’re not going to beat really, really good teams without playing smart the whole way through.”

Next up for Simsboro (15-17)  will be a Tuesday night game at second-seeded Anacoco (35-5), a team Carlisle knows all too well — the team Carlisle coached for two seasons before taking over the Tigers last spring.

“Look, we have a lot of talent,” Carlisle said. “This team has worked hard and is getting better game by game. But to even have a chance to take that next step we have to play smarter basketball than we have all season long. And we certainly have to play smarter basketball than we did tonight.

“Anacoco is good enough to win it all. I went with them to the finals and semifinals the last two years and they have pretty much everybody back. I know what it’s going to take for us to stand a chance, and that’s going to be playing smart. Taking smart shots. Playing smart defense. It’s going to be the toughest test this team has faced all season long. We’ll see how much they’ve learned along the way.”


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