COLBERT -After a naughty first half of basketball between the Leopards and Rock Creek Mustangs on Friday, Colbert Coach Tony Robinson found a way to get his team to play, um, nice.
“I told them Santa Claus was not happy with them and they weren’t going to get any gifts,” Robinson said after a 43-30 win on Friday.
He was joking, of course, but the Leopards came out of the locker room after a miserable 14-14 first-half tie and played like their coach was serious about Santa.
Colbert outscored Rock Creek 31-16 in the second half to take control. Darius Johnson led the late charge for Colbert with 11 of his 13 points coming in the second half. Five of his six steals were also in the latter part of the game.
“I just encouraged them to play a little harder and I think they did,” Robinson said. “We created some points off our defense and that got our energy level up. Darius has a chance to be a special player and he’ll get there, he’s just got to get a little tougher mentally.”
Johnson also had a pair of blocked shots during a defensively savvy stretch for the Leopards in the third quarter. Then, clinging to a four point lead, Johnson hit a three which put the Leopards ahead 28-21.
The lead was just five going into the final eight minutes but Chance Haile’s put-back (his only points of the game) and a steal and soft dunk for Johnson extended the Leopard lead into double digits.
Payton Whitehead added eight for Colbert, Garrett Work was good for six, and McKlane Marquez had five points and three steals to round out the Leopard leaders.
Rock Creek’s Bronson Burns scored a game-high 16 points but had only one basket from the floor in the first half. Ethan Mitchell had four points, and he and Noe Alaniz tied for rebounding leadership with five apiece.
Colbert girls 57 Rock Creek 40
Rachel Anders and Samantha Cummins teamed up for 30 points as the Lady Leopards got back in the win column with a 57-40 decision over Rock Creek on Friday.
Anders scored 17 and Cummins had 13 for Colbert. Haylie McGowan scored nine to go with five boards, while Taytiana Gray had eight of each as well as three blocked shots.
Madison Poteet scored four and Gwenesha Love contributed a late basket for the Lady Leopards (6-1, No. 20 in Class 2A) who were playing for the second time this week since Tony Robinson took over coaching duties.
“It’s not fair to the girls because they’ve been with me for a week and they don’t really know what to expect, so Christmas is going to be a big time for us,” Robinson said. “They’ve got a lot of potential to be really good and make a run. Rachel gets better and better, she’s kind of our spark plug. She gets points when she needs to and plays hard defensively.”
Rock Creek’s Michaela Stinson hit five three-pointers on her way to a game-high 21 points; Harlie Heflin added eight for the Lady Mustangs; Destanie Watkins scored five; Kaci Haislip (four points) and Macy Eiler (two points) each had six rebounds.
A 16-7 first quarter set the tone for the Lady Leopards and they built a 35-16 lead by halftime. Rock Creek outscored Colbert 24-22 in the second half.