Prep Hoops: Thomasville boys win opener for new coach
A new era of Thomasville boys basketball began Monday night when Gil Maxwell coached his first game. The result was a step in the right direction.
The Bulldogs won only six games a year ago, but are off to a 1-0 start following the 52-43 outcome against Wheatmore. THS led for much of the night, but were forced to rally back from a three-point deficit early second half. Kamel Henry's leaner in the lane put them ahead to stay, as the Bulldogs pulled away. Henry wound up with 11 points to go with a team-high 18 points by Dwain Purvis.
“They are learning a new system and they are learning me,” Maxwell said. “We have a lot to learn from this game and now we just have to apply it next week against Trinity.”
Purvis gave the Bulldogs a strong post presence first quarter, scoring eight of 14 points to create a five-point plus margin. He can thank point guard Demoris Payne for three of those buckets. Slashing through the lane to draw defenders, Payne seemed to know where his forward was at all times, slipping passes through outstretched arms for easy looks.
Marshall Lange tied the game with a drive and layup in the second quarter as the Warriors scored the first five points. But an 11-4 run into the half put the Bulldogs ahead 25-18.
Wheatmore again put together a spurt to begin the second half to take a three-point margin. Brayton Hardin connected on a pair of 3-pointers that were separated by buckets from Wyatt Rains and Ryan Grant. Thomasville stood its ground, rattling off the next six points to flip the three-point lead.
The advantage remained three for the Bulldogs until a key call at the 4:30 mark of the fourth quarter changed the game in a big way. Lange was eliminated from competition with his fifth foul. Wheatmore was left without its dazzling point guard for the rest of the night.
With its floor general gone, the Warriors were out of sync for the next three minutes. That allowed the Bulldogs to open up a safe lead of 10 with a little more than a minute left.
“I thought when we stayed within the system we did some very good things,” said Maxwell. “As the game went on we got into some old habits and quit playing together. When we did things the Thomasville way we were able to get some separation and extend the lead.”
Thomasville will visit Trinity Friday.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.