The Minden High Crimson Tide defeated the Evangel Eagles, 65-64 in a wildly entertaining championship matchup in the Minden Holiday Classic.
The Crimson Tide faced off with the Evangel Eagles in a rematch of a Don Stahl Memorial tournament game at Lakeside earlier this season.
The Eagles tamed the Tide on that night, but this time around with the Tide on their homecourt, Coach Alan Shaw and his team weren’t having any part of a repeat performance.
“I’m very proud of the win over a very quality team like Evangel,” Shaw said. “We lost to them in our second game of the season in the Lakeside tournament. This win shows how far we’ve come in those few weeks. To be able to win our tournament with the depth and the quality of teams in it, says a lot about how far we go if we can stay focused.”
The Tide trailed 64-62 with 20 seconds left in the game when Kevin Hamilton pulled down a rebound, dribbled coast to coast and nailed a contested layup and drew the foul. After draining the foul shot, Minden led 65-64. Evangel missed an attempted game winning shot and put-back effort, and when the buzzer sounded the gym went into a frenzy.
“There was quite a bit of jubilation on our part,” Shaw said. “I was very excited to pull that win out because that’s a game that shows where we can be and really could catapult us forward.”
Minden was led by Kevin Hamilton who finished with 22 points and the game winning three-point play. Anfernee Red played a key role as well finishing with 13 points and L’Jarius Sneed, who was solid for the Crimson Tide the entire tournament, added 10.
The win sends Minden into the holidays with a full head of steam. The Tide will take a break and get back on the court on Monday, December 29, versus Homer.
Minden Lady Tiders
The Minden Lady Tiders performed well over the weekend as well, defeating Red River on Friday night before falling to eventual tournament champions, Mansfield, in the semi-finals, 60-54.
In Friday’s contest against Red River, the Lady Tiders and Lady Bulldogs traded buckets all night in an exciting 62-61 game that went to the Lady Tiders.
“We had to find a way to attack their zone defense,” Lady Tider head coach Jacob Brown said. “I thought that early on we dug ourselves a hole, but we dug out of it by going on a 14-0 run to end the first quarter. It was really a game of runs.”
In the second half Minden was able to rally from a 6-point deficit in the final few minutes to take a 1-point lead behind an 8-1 run.
Red River had a chance for the tie at the free throw line but missed the foul shot and the Lady Tiders held the rebound to take the win.
“The girls competed really hard tonight and I’m really proud of them. You can see this team maturing and improving as we go.”
Sha’Terra Batton led the Lady Tiders with 23 points, followed by Tiaga Pugh with 18 points and 14 rebounds and Marlena Hill with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Lady Tiders vs. Mansfield
In the girls semi-finals, the Lady Tiders met up with the Mansfield ladies for another great game.
This time the Minden girls couldn’t come away with the victory, as Mansfield kept their composure late in the game to hold off the Lady Tiders, 60-54.
“From tip to finish we played as hard as we did all year,” Brown said. “I thought both teams competed like champions.”
Mansfield led by 5 points at halftime, at 27-22. In the second half, Minden continued to play hard, but Mansfield, led by tourney MVP Ashlyn Jacobs, never wilted.
“Mansfield is a very good team, led by a very good guard.” Brown said. “We had our opportunities late, but we had some costly turnovers. Overall we’re seeing this team grow. I’m proud of the direction we’re heading in. We had some fantastic performances by our girls this weekend.”
Marlena Hill led the Lady Tiders in this game with 21 points to go with 9 rebounds. Tiaga Pugh finished in double figures with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Lakeside vs. Green Oaks
In boys consolation action, Lakeside fell to Green Oaks 56-42.
“We haven’t played very well the past two games,” Warrior head coach Jason Gould said. “We didn’t perform well on offense or defense. We had some good stretches in the fourth quarter, but we weren’t aggressive enough on defense and we paid the price for it.”
Lakeside got 17 points from Frankie Miles to lead the way.
The Warriors are now off until 2015 when they’ll take on Haughton Friday, January 2, 2015.