LAUREL HILL — Powered by a balanced scoring attack the Laurel Hill School boys basketball team opened District 1-1A tournament play with a 59-49 win over Bethlehem on Tuesday.
Tee Calloway led a trio of Hoboes in double figures with 15 points. Bryson Cooper scored 13 points and Josh Hartzog added 11 points. Senior post player Lane Strickland just missed double figures with nine points.
The win advances Laurel Hill (17-7) to the tournament semifinals where they will face rival Paxton at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Bethlehem.
“Everybody has the same goal at district time and that’s to make it as far as they can,” Hobo Coach Kent Zessin said. “We saw a real good effort out of Bethlehem tonight. I felt like early we didn’t finish very well.
“We got in a little rhythm there in second quarter and into the third when our defense allowed us to push the tempo. We are playing a very good Paxton team next, but that’s a rival so anything can happen.”
The Wildcats (11-12), who were fighting for the tournament lives, played a much better game than when they lost to the Hoboes 59-26 on Jan. 14.
Bethlehem post player Brett Mitchell scored six points in the first quarter as the Wildcats led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Twenty-three seconds into the second quarter Bryson Cooper scored of an offensive rebound to put Laurel Hill in front 11-10. Calloway converted a 3-point play 21 seconds later and the Hoboes led the rest of the way.
Hartzog came up big for Laurel Hill in the second quarter scoring six points on a variety of drives to the basket.
Strickland’s first score came on a dunk on an offensive rebound at the horn ending the second quarter. The dunk pushed the Laurel Hill lead to six points at the half.
Bethlehem closed the Laurel Hill lead to 27-24 with 4:50 left in the third quarter and that’s as close as the Wildcats would get.
The Hoboes had an answer for every Wildcat challenge throughout the second half and held on to take the double digit win.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.