Lineup switch triggers Hounds in first win on the season

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Truth be told, Huntington first-year head coach Brandon Gousset had been mulling over a makeover to his lineup.

The Hounds needed a different spark, something they lacked in their first 11 games of the season &045; all losses. So when three new players got the start Friday when the Hounds took on Oak Forest at the WCCA New Year’s Shootout, something clicked indeed.

And the end result was the best so far this year as they took a 36-32 win over the Yellow Jackets to notch their first win of the season.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;We basically had people who had missed practice over the holidays, and they lost their spots to people who had been there,&uot; said Gousset, in his first season after serving as an assistant under Michael McAnally last season. &uot;It had been an idea I had been contemplating. The pressure was off them (afterward). They wouldn’t have a whole season without one win, and they were pleased to get that first one. We’ve got WCCA (next week), and they’re ready to get started with that.&uot;

The win definitely lifted up everyone’s spirits after losing several close games prior to then. The Hounds went into the holiday break with that 0-11 ledger in Gousset’s first season despite coming up just short in a number of contests.

There were the close losses to Porter’s Chapel, Amite School Center and Tensas Academy where the Hounds were in position to close the deal but couldn’t quite get it done.

So the lineup got altered &045; Mike Ferguson and Chad Kinney retained their spots but were accompanied by Jacob Bonnette, Hunter Norwood and Hayden Moffett &045; to find a defensive spark and put the pressure on the Yellow Jackets, a team who was also in search of their first win.

The Hounds were in the game late, but this time they hit some free throws to finish it off.

&uot;They picked it up defensively,&uot; Gousset said. &uot;(The press) was the main reason. We caused a lot of turnovers playing full court with them and got a lot of layups. We could out-run them and were a little faster than they were.&uot;

The win wasn’t easy as the Yellow Jackets had a 25-18 lead at halftime. On Saturday, the did the same thing by battling early against Centreville before the Tigers took a 49-41 victory.

The game was tied at 34 heading into the fourth quarter before the Tigers put it away.

&uot;It’s taken a few games to get acclimated to each other,&uot; Gousset said. &uot;I feel real strongly that out of the games we’ve lost we’ve only lost to three or four teams that were better than us. Saturday we couldn’t hit water out of a boat. Centreville is a lot quicker team. They beat the press a lot better than Oak Forest did.&uot;

With the pressure off now for the most part, it shifts now to the District 7-A race that’s cranked up. The Hounds lost their first four games to Trinity, Amite, Tensas and Ben’s Ford, but now their spirits are a little higher going into the second half starting Friday against WCCA.

&uot;When district starts back up, they’re really pumped up about that,&uot; Gousset said. &uot;They don’t want to go 0-10 in district. We haven’t seen WCCA yet. I know they beat Ben’s Ford. Their coach said they’ve got a pretty good man-to-man defense. But we’ll be ready for them, I believe. I think it’s (Trinity), Tensas and everybody else is pretty much on the same level.&uot;

GUARD SHAKEUP &045; With the Adams Christian girls playing with only eight players Saturday against Centreville and without post player April Boyd, it gave head coach Bruce Pickle a chance to try some different combinations on the floor.

Meghan Austin and Mattie Geoghegan split time on the block, and sophomore Brittany Gamberi saw more action on the floor at guard after starting in place of Nikki Hankins.

Kim Robertson led the way with 19 points courtesy of five 3-pointers in their 52-33 win, but the defense played a big part in the win over a tough Lady Tigers squad. Gamberi provided a spark at the top of the defense to lead the way.

&uot;She does an excellent job defensively,&uot; AC head coach Bruce Pickle said. &uot;She’s got a chance to be a really good player. We probably utilize our guards pretty evenly. We’ll need Brittany to handle the ball against teams that press us. I was pleased with my other two sophomores &045; Mattie and Meghan did a good job also. We shot the ball better. Kim shot the ball a little better.&uot;

MORE ON MANSON &045; Trinity’s Australian import Robert Manson continues to impress others around MPSA, including his 20-point performance in Tuesday’s 41-34 win over Benton and his 29 points and 16 rebounds the night before when the Saints upended University Christian School.

He fits in well with a Saints team that’s fun to watch because they just play so darned hard despite missing the key cogs from last year. But Manson’s productivity at this point may be just beginning to bloom.

The Saints had a game scheduled against Jackson Prep Friday but had it scratched. They’ll go again Tuesday against at Amite School Center.

&uot;I think his shot is getting better,&uot; TE head coach David King said. &uot;It’s just a different game over here. He didn’t play a lot of basketball over there. He’s still learning and doing a good job. The kids are complementing him real well.&uot;