Bears challenged by visiting Itawamba, prevail for fourth-straight win

Published 12:58 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

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“Anytime you can win four games in a row in league play in any level of basketball, it is huge,” SMCC head coach Bryan Bender said. “I was really proud of our effort tonight especially on the defensive end. Itawamba is well-coached.”

Early on, it was the trio of Zae Blake, Javius Moore and Quez Fountain who was responsible for nearly all of the scoring for the in the first half for the Bears (14-6, 7-4). While Moore found his stroke from 3-point range, Blake posted most of his points from inside the arch. For Fountain, most of his success in the first 20 minutes of play came via free throws.

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“Tonight we came out knowing the scouting report (and) film,” said Blake who finished with a team-high 17 points. “Everything this whole week went great. Everybody was playing hard. We had to win tonight to keep our winning streak up.”

While the trio had success on the offensive end, the Bear defense had to deal with a talented Indians group.

The Indians kept pace with the Bears for nearly the whole game preventing the hosts from pulling away.

SMCC led 35-29 at the half.

The second half was more of the same, except a drop in turnovers by the Bears. SMCC played a better brand of basketball displaying a much more balanced attack. While only four players registered points in the first half, eight scored in the second.

Moore added four more points to finish with 16 while Zach Shugars scored all seven of his points in the second half.

Down the stretch, the Bears fended-off a late comeback attempts by the Indians, before sealing the win.

Free throws were a key component for the Bears in the win. As a team SMCC made 18-of-21 from the line.

Next up, the Bears will travel to Meridian on Monday for a 6 p.m. showdown with the Eagles.