Posted On: 11/16/18 11:45 PM

It’s too early to say Olive Branch has played up to its full potential, but it isn’t too early to say the ‘Quistors’ opponents, with nothing to lose, are going to give more effort because of the talent on the other bench.

A young Southaven team tested Olive Branch (4-0) early on in the first quarter, but the ‘Quistors shaped up and ran away with the 92-65 victory over the Chargers Friday night to remain undefeated. Memphis commit D.J. Jeffries led the way with 28 points and had an array of dunks in transition.

Olive Branch came out flat, which allowed Southaven (3-2) to gain some confidence in front of its home crowd. Jaylon Sanders’ long 3 had the Chargers down 7-5. The home crowd fed off the made 3, and the bench motivated Southaven to keep going after the defending 5A state champions.

The ‘Quistors quickly scored eight straight points to go up 15-5. The Chargers responded with two-straight made baskets by James Richards and Jordan Hibbler, but Kyron Pleas made two foul shots to put Olive Branch back up by double digits (23-12).

The ‘Quistors went into halftime up 43-30 and came out in the second half playing a lot better, scoring in transition and making shots from the free throw line. Joe Cooper’s layup made it 56-30. Cooper finished with 13. Pleas provided 12. Cameron Matthews, who lobbed a pass to Jeffries for a two-handed slam in transition, finished with 11, along with Wes Taylor.

Richards had 25 points to lead Southaven. Sanders finished with 14.

Missed opportunities

Southaven’s guards had a lot of great looks at the basket but couldn’t knock them down. Olive Branch’s defense forced some bad shots, but the Chargers panicked at times.

Cooper struggled from the foul line

Cooper went 3 for 10 from the free throw line. He could have scored in the 20s if he would’ve made all of his foul shots. That should be a point of emphasis for him moving forward.

Balanced scoring

Olive Branch did a better job in the second half passing the basketball and finding the best shot to take. The ‘Quistors are tough to beat when everyone around Jeffries is pitching in on the offensive end.

“I was upset early, because we weren’t making one more pass,” Olive Branch’s head coach Eric Rambough said. “When we were attacking the rim, the defense was closing in on us, and instead of making one more pass, we would force something.

“As the game went on, they started making the extra pass, and that’s when things opened up.”

Jeffries and Matthews made them count from the line

The Chargers wanted to foul Matthews and Jeffries each time they drove to the lane. Both talented forwards made Southaven pay for those fouls. Matthews and Jeffries combined to go 15 for 19 from the charity stripe.

Memphis East up next

Next Tuesday night will be the battle of the state champions from Mississippi and Tennessee. Memphis East, which is led by Memphis commit Malcolm Dandridge, the No. 1 player in 2019 in James Wiseman, and Bradley commit Antonio Thomas, will look to give Olive Branch its first loss of the season.

“One thing I know about my guys is the bigger the moment, the better they will play,” Rambough said. “And I haven’t found a moment that’s too big for them. On Tuesday, they’re going to come out hyped, and that place is going to be wild. East is going to come out hyped, too.”