It took a little longer than Ernie Watson had hoped, but Hattiesburg’s triple threat kicked it into high gear Tuesday night against Oak Grove. Junior standouts Cameron Brown, Chris Lewis and Nick Walker combined to score 55 points for the Tigers, who handed the Warriors their first loss of the season, 65-59.
Brown was limited to just three points in the first half before exploding for 13 in the third quarter. He closed out the quarter with a three-pointer and a four-point play, as Hattiesburg trimmed the Warrior lead to 46-43 headed to the fourth. The Tigers went on to outscore the Warriors in the final period, 22-13, to pick up the win and improve to 7-3 on the year.
“It’s fun,” Watson said. “This rivalry is probably one of the best rivalries in the state in all sports. The thing is, we need to do it one more time [on January 22] when they come over to our place.
“Much respect to coach [LaRon] Brumfield and his group because they can shoot the ball, and they’re gonna be a very good team in their division.”
Watson’s group jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes, but it was a short-lived advantage. Oak Grove closed the quarter on a 14-6 scoring run to take a 14-13 lead into the second. Four lead changes ensued before the Warriors built a five-point cushion, 30-25, going into halftime.
Brandon Tilley knocked down four three-pointers in the first half, and Tate Ryder added two for Oak Grove.
The Warriors kept piling it on in the third quarter and built a double-digit advantage, 46-36, late in the period. Then Cameron Brown got hot at the right time for Hattiesburg. His aforementioned seven-point outburst at the end of the quarter had the Tigers right back in the thick of things.
“He [Brown] is a humble kid,” Watson said. “You gotta get into him for him to get those juices flowing. Once he gets those juices flowing, he’s about ready for a highlight.”
Brown and the Tigers kept it flowing in the fourth. After Oak Grove built a four-point, 50-46 lead with back-to-back baskets from Blake Roberts, Hattiesburg responded with an 11-0 scoring run to take control of the game
Brown (21 points), Chris Lewis (18 points) and Nick Walker (16 points) finished in double digits for the Tigers.
“When No. 1 [Lewis], No. 2 [Walker] and No. 3 [Brown] wake up, it’s very difficult to beat us,” Watson added.
Brandon Tilley led Oak Grove with 18 points, and Roberts added 14 for the Warriors, who fell to 7-1 with the loss.
Hattiesburg Lady Tigers 58, Oak Grove 32
The Lady Tigers extended their win streak to four games and improved to 6-2 overall with a runaway victory of the Lady Warriors. Hattiesburg built a 15-5 lead in the first quarter, and that advantage only grew as the game went on.
Melyia Grayson led the Lady Tigers with 18 points, and Kenedi Walker added 16.
Nya Warrack led the Lady Warriors with 17 points.