Lights come on for the SA boys
J.R. Gerhart (14) of Starkville Academy splits the Oak Hill defense for two points on Saturday night. (Kim Murrell/SDN)
Oak Hill Academy attempted a "blackout" with its all-black attire at the Starkville Academy gymnasium Saturday.
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The Starkville Academy Volunteers wouldn't have that in their own house and turned the lights on.
After dropping a tough 86-57 home decision to Madison-Ridgeland Academy on Friday, the Vols dealt the visiting Raiders a 63-46 loss.
"I was a little nervous to be honest with you because we had a soccer game (Saturday) and a couple of guys participated in that and we played MRA tough last night," Starkville Academy coach Chris Lyle said. "You wonder as a coach if you are going to have anything left.
"I was extremely proud of our guys and how we responded. We knocked down some big shots. J.R. Gerhart took care of the ball and we had some guys come off the bench and played well.
"It's amazing to me that some of our guys are really growing up and even seniors."
The Vols used a 15-0 run in the first quarter to take a 27-9 lead. Long-range shooting was a key to the scoring spurt as SA made five three-point field goals in the first quarter.
"They just hit some bombs and they just didn't miss," Oak Hill coach Brian Middleton said. "They would just run and shoot it. The pace really hurt us."
Gerhart, who made one of the first-quarter three-pointers, said shooting has been a point of emphasis in practice.
"Coach Lyle has been working with our form in shooting and getting us back to the basics," Gerhart said. "That's coming into play with our shooting."
The Raiders made a run at the Vols in the middle of the second quarter and cut the margin to 36-25 on a basket by Conner Baird.
The Vols closed the half strong on the scoring of Jordan Graham, Gerhart and Austin Marsh to take a 42-27 advantage into the dressing room at halftime.
"In a rivalry game, there are going to be some runs and we weathered the storm," Lyle said.
Starkville Academy continued its strong play into the third quarter and led 57-36 after the third.
Gerhart had 15 points to lead the Vols (7-17), while Patrick Jones also scored in double figures with 11 points. Adam Crittenden added nine points. Jordan Graham and Austin Kinard chipped in eight points each.
"I just love the way our guys played," Gerhart said. "Everyone contributed and it was nice to see that out of our seniors and underclassmen as well."
Johnn Williamson had 13 points and Steven Jones added 12 points for Oak Hill (9-14).
"You have to give credit to Oak Hill because I thought they fought for four quarters," Lyle said. "I thought they played exceptionally well. We got up big on them and I don't think they quit at all. Coach Middleton is such a great coach and does a good job with that program."