The Minden Crimson Tide came into Friday night’s district 1-4A showdown with Benton as a mystery, but after a 61-47 win over the visiting Tigers, the Tide have the look of a team with a chance to make some noise in the crowded district race.
Minden was without head coach Alan Shaw who was ill, but assistant coaches Danny Bays, A.J, Shine and Rodarion Rogers guided the team to the finish line in what was a game of runs.
Shun Moore had a game-high 19 points and was key in a huge first quarter that ended with the Tide on top 22-5.
Benton went on a run to cut the lead to 24-16 in the second quarter and went into the locker room down by just seven points.
But the Tide got hot again, with the spark coming from Eric Moses off the bench. During the fast and furious third quarter, Minden stretched their lead back to 45-28. Benton would make one last push, but time was on the Tide’s side as they bled out the clock to preserve the district win.
In the girls game, the Minden Lady Tiders scratched and clawed their way to a fourth-quarter lead, but couldn’t hold on as the Benton Lady Tigers came into The Palace and left with a 57-49 win.
“We had several young ladies get in foul trouble early on,” Lady Tider head coach Jacob Brown said. “Tonight, the fouls played in our opponents favor. You have to have your scorers on the court. I commend our girls for continuing to fight. It’s a group effort between the coaches and the team and we have to grow from this and learn to capitolize on our opportunities.”
Benton made things tough for the Lady Tider offense, packing in a tight zone and getting out in transition after a miss.
The Lady Tiders trailed by two at halftime, but stormed back behind a big run, led by Bre Rogers and Strawberry Batton.
The lead was short lived though, as Benton turned a six-point deficit into a two-point lead thanks largely to free throws.
“We didn’t do a good job of playing help defense,” Brown said. “That’s something we have to fix as a team. When we were able to slow down their transition and make them run stuff in the halfcourt we had success. I do want to say, I’m proud of how my girls competed. They leave it out their on the court.”
Batton led Minden with 19 points, followed by Rogers with nine points, Sha’ Whiting with nine points and Destiny Powell with five points.
The Tide and Lady Tiders each have big games coming up Tuesday at home as they prepare to host Fair Park.