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Posted On: 11/30/18 7:30 AM
Center Hill junior forward Decorian Payton isn’t getting a lot of attention from college basketball programs.
But, he’s one of the key pieces to the Mustangs’ success this season.
Payton had 25, and senior guard Kevin Henry had 22 to lead Center Hill to the 94-45 win over the Commodores to improve to 8-0 of the season.
The Mustangs built a double-digit lead early in the first quarter after back-to-back scores from Henry and Payton. A 3 from senior point guard Kenneth Lewis plus a score from sophomore forward Kaeden Laws made it 22-6. Henry added nine rebounds and six steals.
Center Hill’s strength this season has started on the defensive end. The Mustangs have frustrated teams this season with their 1-3-1 press, and against Lafayette, it worked once again. The Commodores didn’t reach double digits in scoring until the six-minute mark of the second quarter.
“If we play like that every night, this team has a chance to win as many games as it wants to win,” Center Hill’s head coach Newton Mealer said. “All five guys were locked in; all five guys were in the gaps. All five guys were getting deflections. Those led to easy transition buckets, and when we do that, we’re a tough team to beat.”
As Lafayette struggled offensively, Center Hill kept pouring it on. Payton, Calvin Temple, and Braxton Morris scored the team’s next 14 points to build a 46-14 lead.
Temple shot only 5 for 17 from the field, finishing with 14 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Even though Temple struggled, the offense was still able to roll because of Payton and Henry’s early solid start.
Payton was very active on the glass and relentless on the offensive end. Ole Miss Men’s basketball coach Kermit Davis loved what he saw from Payton in the team’s win on Tuesday night against Tupelo.
“Coach Davis was here Tuesday night, and when him and I walked out together, he was like ‘Who’s all recruiting No. 1 (Decorian Payton)? I said ‘Coach, right now very few schools are calling him. And he was like ‘Before that guy becomes a senior, there’s going to be a lot of guys from across the country that are going to want to talk to that guy.
“’He has all of the attributes to make your team go.’”
Sophomore forward Tylen Kinds was the only player to score in double figures for Lafayette (1-7). He finished with 13 points.
Sophomore forward Kaeden Laws fell awkwardly as he was going up for a layup at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter. He left the game for a short moment, but came back. Coach Mealer mentioned Laws didn’t suffer a serious injury. Laws finished with five points.
Temple’s 3-point shot didn’t fall. He went 1 for 8 from long range.
Center Hill has beaten six of its eight opponents by 30-plus points this season. The Mustangs won their other two games by 13 and eight points, respectively.