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Posted On: 11/25/18 4:15 AM
Corinth, MS. – Newton Mealer bit his tongue in the preseason when he was asked how good Center Hill will be in the 2018 season.
After the Mustangs defeated 52nd ranked Bearden, 62-49, in the Lighthouse Classic behind solid performances from Calvin Temple and Kaeden Laws, Mealer knows where his team stands amongst the competition.
Temple finished with 26 points, four rebounds, and three assists before he was named the most valuable player of the game. Laws recorded his first double-double of the season (26 points, 11 rebounds).
“This team has put in a lot of work over the summer, then it carried over into August, September, and October,” Mealer said after the game. “That’s what I have preached to them. Your hard work will pay off. Yes, we are a very good basketball team. These guys work hard.
“The reason we’re so successful is because we’re going to play hard for 32 minutes. I told them in the first quarter that the second part of the day is to wear them down.”
Center Hill held a double-digit lead for most of the second half and built a 46-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs’ senior point guard, Ques Glover, scored his team’s first two points of the fourth quarter to make it 46-37. A score by junior forward Decorian Payton followed by a 3 from Temple pushed the Mustangs’ lead back up to 51-37, and Center Hill coasted from there.
As a team, the Mustangs did what they could to limit Glover, who was playing with a groin injury. Glover connected on just 6 of 20 – 1 of 7 from deep – shots from the field, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Center Hill forced Bearden into 16 turnovers and took 6-10 senior forward Drew Pember out of his comfort zone. Pember is deadly when he’s in isolation situations. The Mustangs played zone, forcing Pember to take more jump shots than he would have liked to take.
Pember had 10 points on a 2 of 8 shooting effort.
With one of its biggest victories stamped into the win column, Center Hill has to figure out how to stay humbled with an unblemished record (6-0).
“As a coach, you’re kind of in a tough spot when you’re 6-0,” Mealer said. “You’re looking at each other in the locker room, and I’m already talking about Tuesday’s game. Don’t beat a team like this and show up Tuesday and have a letdown.
“We are going to continue to find out how good we are if we stay grounded, humbled, and continue to work like we’re supposed to.”
Temple shoots out of slump
Before Saturday’s game, Temple wasn’t shooting the ball well from long range. Against the Bulldogs, Temple made 6 of 11 shots from deep.
“After the first five games, I went straight to the gym,” Temple said. “Yesterday (Friday), I went to go run and put up shots before practice. I put up about 500 shots on Friday just to get back in my groove. It paid off today.”