STARKVILLE — They come at you in waves, forcing the tempo on defense and driving to the hoop on offense. They get in passing lanes, disrupt the opposing offense and convert mistakes into quick points.
And it seems as if every player on the roster is equally capable of making something happen.
The Noxubee County boys basketball team ran into a buzzsaw Tuesday night, as five players scored in double figures during Starkville’s 70-56 victory over the Tigers.
It wasn’t really that close.
After leading 33-12 at halftime, the Yellow Jackets opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run capped by back-to-back fastbreak baskets by Jonathan Baker and Connor Rogers that left the home team up 47-14.
Eight of the 14 points during the run came on breaks, highlighted by a thunderous slam by Makhi Myles a minute into the third quarter. But every basket during the stretch came at the rim on a drive to the basket.
“That’s the style we really want to play: up and down, guard, full-court pressure, get a rebound and run it,” said first-year Starkville head coach Woodie Howard, an assistant coach since 2015. “The more steals you get, or good defensive stops and rebounds, we can get out and run. If we give up baskets, they’re able to set up their defense.”
Not that the Yellow Jackets had trouble in the half-court sets. Some good ball movement, always looking for an opportunity to drive, took care of that.
“We pride ourselves on being able to score in the half-court set,” Howard said. “That way we won’t always depend on our defense, even though we depend on our defense a lot.”
Baker, Rogers and Myles each hit a 3-pointer during the first quarter as Starkville took a 17-6 lead. No player had more than 7 points at the half, and that’s the way the Jackets played through the first three quarters.
They took their foot off the gas during the fourth, and the Tigers made it look respectable, making some pretty plays along the way. Rafeal Harris scored 10 of his 12 points during the fourth quarter for Noxubee County, which poured in 31 points in the final period. The final score was the closest the Tigers had been since the first minute of the second quarter.
Marcus Bell came off the bench to score 12 fourth-quarter points for Starkville, tying him with Rogers and Myles. Baker finished with 11 points, while Kylan Baggett chipped in with 10 for Starkville (7-1).
Demone Cunningham matched Harris with 12 points for the Tigers (1-2), while Darrel Brooks added 11.
Starkville has a week off before hosting Greenwood on Dec. 7, while Noxubee County will return home Saturday to face Lanier.