LAUREL HILL — It was one of those games where Laurel Hill boys basketball coach had to simply shake his head and give credit where credit was due.
Paxton’s Dustin Geoghagan made his last appearance at the Laurel Hill gym Friday one to remember. The Bobcat senior guard hit eight 3-pointers on his way to a 32-point night against the Hoboes.
“Dustin Geoghagan had one of those games he will remember the rest of his life with this being his senior year,” Zessin said. “I thought Dustin came out and played a heck of a game on the offensive end as far as shooting the ball. The kid couldn’t miss.
“We knew he was going to be able do that. We tried to prepare for that, but he was still knocking them down.”
Geoghagan was in fact a one-man gang as he scored half of Paxton’s points as the Bobcats took a 64-29 win in District 1-1A play.
As a team, Paxton (7-2, 3-2) hit 14 3-pointers and only four twos on the way to the big win.
Bobcat coach Jeff Bradley said it was good to see Geoghagan come out of what had been a shooting slump of sorts.
“The last few games he has really struggled,” Bradley said. “He hasn’t been off much. It’s just kind of been in and out for him. But he’s worked hard.
“He came out here tonight and it’s always a big game for him. It’s always been a big game for him to come over here and play. For us to come over here and play like we did tonight was huge for us.”
The first five minutes of the game was everything Laurel Hill and Paxton fans have come to expect from the rivalry.
Lane Strickland scored the first point of the game on a free throw to give Laurel Hill an early 1-0 lead. The Bobcats answered with a basket by Austin Carnley to move in front 2-1.
A Max Smith basket for the Hoboes with 3:33 left in the first quarter tied the game at 8-8. Laurel Hill moved in front 9-8 on a Tommy Calloway free throw. But back-to-back 3-pointers by Geoghagan and Grant Stewart to end the first quarter put the Bobcats in front for good.
Geoghagan’s big night started innocently enough. He did hit a pair of threes as the Bobcats jumped to a 14-9 lead after one quarter of play.
Geoghagan exploded for four more threes in the second quarter and had 20 at the half.
While the Bobcats relied on the outside game the Hoboes (2-5, 0-3) tried to work the ball inside to Strickland.
The plan worked to a certain degree as Strickland scored 11 points.
Trying to match inside play against a team that was red hot from 3-point range was to avail.
If it wasn’t Geoghagan hitting the long shot it was Grant Stewart, who finished the night with 15 points or Carnley, who had 13 points.
The Bobcats extended the five-point lead after the first period to a 34-15 lead at the half.
As the teams took the floor for the start of the second half the questions were whether the Hoboes could come back or if the Bobcats would be able to extend their lead.
Paxton led 41-24 after three and pulled away in the fourth quarter going on a 23-5 run to seal the game.
Strickland was the only Laurel Hill player in double figures. He was followed in scoring by Tommy Calloway’s nine points. No other Laurel Hill player had more than three points.
“We did some things well early,” Zessin said. “We hit some free throws in the first quarter and we were up and then we kind of got out of our game plan in the second quarter. Offensively we didn’t do some things right.
“It was an inside game versus an outside game. We were strictly trying to get it into Lane as best as possible and try to use our size. We are a team that struggles scoring at times and that’s going to be our Achilles heel this year.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524