BAUXITE – The Bauxite Miners played an all-around game to open their 7-4A conference season with a 49-33 victory over the Nashville Scrappers at Fred Dawson Gym on Tuesday night.
“We played really well,” Bauxite Coach Mark Smith said. “Probably the best we’ve played this season. It was a good time to start out with the first conference game.”
The Miners (5-4, 1-0 7-4A) didn’t get off to a good start as the Scrappers couldn’t miss leading 14-3 early and finished the first quarter with a 16-7 lead over the Miners.
“We started out pretty shaky,” Smith said. “They were just hitting every shot in the first quarter. Tough shots, threes, people in their face. We told our guys, ‘Just hang in there. They can’t keep shooting this way.’ And they did. I was really proud of them. We overcame some adversity early in the game, really fought hard and stayed with it.”
As Smith predicted, the Scrappers didn’t keep shooting lights-out and the Miners outscored Nashville 16-5 in the second quarter, taking a 23-21 lead at the half, after trailing by 11 early on.
“Our execution on offense was really good,” Smith said. “It was the best we played all year.”
Bauxite shot 16 of 39 (41 percent) from the field and 14 of 18 (78 percent) from the free-throw line. Sophomore Ben Madison led the Miners with 18 points and senior forward Tyler Hill had 16. Junior guard Hunter Holder had eight points.
“We picked a good time to come out of our shell,” Smith said. “Our defense was really good in the second half. Nashville had a hard time getting shots and we did a good job on the boards; no second shots. We just really got focused after the first quarter on both ends of the floor. Everyone who played in the game really made a contribution. Everybody made a play whether it was a steal on a pass, an assist, a big rebound, or a free throw.”
The Miners will continue conference play when they go to Ashdown to take on the Panthers on Friday.