Bastrop 83, Neville 71
Putting together its most complete game to this point, Bastrop was an 83-71 winner over Neville on Friday night at Sam's Place.
"I am proud of the effort," Bastrop coach Theabury Odom said. "I thought we played well as a team tonight."
Cortlen Newsome's long 3-pointer from the right side put Bastrop ahead to stay, 10-8, four minutes in.
Although it was Newsome's only bucket of the night, the senior guard factored heavily into the outcome. Rather than forcing low percentage shots, he consistently fed the ball to open teammates. More importantly, Newsome shined on the defensive end.
"Cortlen is doing what seniors are supposed to do," Odom said. "He stepped up and took the challenge of guarding their shooters. Cortlen is the one who makes the machine go because of his shooting ability, but his defense often gets overlooked."
With Bastrop up one, Danny Hill drove the left baseline and SirQuan Hawkins tapped home a follow-up to give the Rams a 19-14 lead at the end of the frame.
Hill's open 3-pointer from the right corner padded the Rams' margin to 24-16 early in the second quarter. Neville reduced the deficit to four before Neverless Frazier's 3-pointer and two Garrett Guirlando free throws brought the halftime score to 39-30.
Bastrop missed two 3-pointers on its first possession of the second half before a pair of Hawkins free throws upped the difference to 41-30.
Predictably, the Tigers would make a run.
With Neville trailing 43-35, Matt Marx single-handedly trimmed the deficit to two on a driving layup, a three-point play and a free throw.
Two layups by Guirlando pushed the margin back to six, 47-41.
Neville again chopped the margin to two, 47-45, as Josh Fields drove the left baseline and Tavis Butler navigated his way through the lane.
After taking a timeout, the Rams regained the momentum behind a 9-0 rush.
Hawkins swished a 3-pointer from the left side, Hill worked his way underneath and Hawkins and McHenry turned takeaways into transition layups as Bastrop upped its lead to 54-45.
Butler and McHenry traded buckets to wrap up the third quarter scoring with the Rams in front 59-47.
Neville twice climbed within nine early in the final period at 61-52 on a Marx 3-pointer and 63-54 on Sadarius Winfield's layup.
Bastrop would score on its next five possessions to all but seal the result.
Hill found McHenry underneath to trigger a 7-0 run. Newsome then set up a cutting Hill, leading to a three-point play, and Hill set up Keyshawn Scott from point blank range to make it 70-54 with 5:03 remaining.
Demaine Riley bagged two free throws to bring the Tigers within 70-56.
On the Rams' next offensive trip, Hawkins penetrated on the dribble and dished to Hill for an easy deuce.
After Neville misfired on a 3, Newsome unfurled a long pass to Hawkins on the break to give the Rams their biggest lead of the evening, 74-56, with 3:56 to play. It was the Rams' sixth consecutive assisted bucket.
"We made the extra pass tonight," Odom said. "We didn't waste any motion. We made the right passes, and we finished."
Neville was able to get within 10 at 79-69 and 81-71 in the closing moments, but this night belonged to the Rams.
"Our guards did an outstanding job of handling the basketball on the press," Odom said. "I thought that was the key to the game."
Hill was high scorer for the Rams with 26 points, followed by McHenry with 21. Both finished strong as McHenry tallied nine fourth quarter points and Hill eight. Hawkins made it a trio in double figures with 18 points. Guirlando was next with eight, Scott had four and Newsome and Frazier three apiece.
"I really can't express how proud I am of the guys who came off the bench," Odom said. "Keyshawn Scott, Neverless Frazier and Jordan Rabun gave us some quality minutes tonight."
Marx paced Neville (11-13, 1-1) with 23 points, including 14 in the second half. Winfield and Fields both had 11, followed by Butler with eight, Ross and Alex Ameliach with six each, Riley with five and Zion Smith with one.
Bastrop (13-7, 2-0) is idle until Friday when it hosts Franklin Parish.
"Any time you beat Neville, it goes without saying, it's big," Odom said. "At the same time, it's just one win. The kids understand what our goal is. We have to start getting ready to play Franklin Parish at home Friday night."
Notes: Bastrop won its seventh straight, and the fans are starting to take notice. Friday's crowd was the largest turnout of the season. ... Disputing a foul call in the backcourt, Butler was ejected after picking up two technicals with 2:29 remaining. ... Neville hosts Simsboro, the No. 1-ranked team in Class B, Monday at 7 p.m.