LIVINGSTON -- Maybe no one is looking forward to the Thanksgiving break more than the Doyle basketball team.
The Tigers wrapped up a stretch of seven games in seven days to start the season, scratching for a 58-51 win over Covington to close out their own tournament Tuesday at Doyle.
Doyle (5-2) went 1-2 in its tournament after a 3-0 run in the Hathaway Tournament over the weekend.
“If you would have asked my before we started, ‘Hey, would you take being 5-2? I would have probably told you yeah, just because I knew the level of competition we were going to play,” Doyle coach Daniel Kennedy said. “I knew we had some tough games in that stretch and being inexperienced for ourselves and playing seven games that close, there’s no practice time, so you had to be ready for all different styles of offenses that you’re going to have to defend. People are running different presses and half court traps and zones with no practice in between, so it’s kind of like (we) just threw us to the fire. I was pleased with our effort over that stretch. I know we’re exhausted. I’m exhausted, so we get a few days off for Thanksgiving.”
Doyle led 44-39 heading into the fourth quarter, but Covington chipped away, grabbing a 47-46 lead on DeAndre McDowell’s inside basket.
The teams swapped one-point leads four times, with the Lions taking a 51-50 edge on McDowell’s putback.
But Doyle’s Abedn Kennedy hit a 3-pointer, and Boaz Kennedy connected on a pair of free throws after being fouled following a Covington turnover, giving the Tigers a 55-51 lead.
“We wanted to do a good job of keeping them in front of us and making them shoot perimeter shots, which I didn’t think we did very well,” Daniel Kennedy said. “I think they destroyed us off the dribble and getting offensive rebounds. I think they had 40 points in the lane. I was not at all pleased with that effort at all from us when our game plan was to make them shoot perimeter shots. We’ve got to do a much better job of that. When we made that run at the very end, I think we were able to do that, and instead of taking perimeter shots, we were able to get steals and turnovers just from being in a good defensive position.”
Slade Lacey got a steal on the next Covington possession, and Boaz Kennedy was fouled. He missed the front end of a one and one, but Abedn Kennedy pulled down the rebound and got a putback, making the score 57-51.
“It’s just keeping my head in the game, boxing out,” Abedn Kennedy said of the play. “They have some huge post players. Those are physical football players. You’ve got to try not to get an over the back call and just go up with it strong. It’s a good feeling.”
Wyatt Shoemaker hit a free throw with 1.8 seconds left for the final margin.
Covington led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter and went ahead 18-14 on Elijah Harrison’s 3-pointer.
From there, Shoemaker eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a 10-2 run that put the Tigers ahead 24-20.
Covington battled back to tie the game at 24-24, and 26-26 before Champ Morales’ basket keyed a run that put the Tigers ahead 33-26 at halftime.
Cody Sanchez hit a 3-pointer and Morales scored off a steal by Wyatt Morgan to push the lead to 39-26. Another trey by Shoemaker and a steal and layup by Morales put the Tigers ahead 44-29.
Morales led Doyle with 13 points, Shoemaker added 11, and Abedn Kennedy scored 10. The Tigers hit six 3-pointers, with Shoemaker and Abedn Kennedy each hitting two to lead the way.
“Neither team picked up full court and tried to press,” Daniel Kennedy said. “We couldn’t because we were tired. There’s no way we could have, but you still want to play hard on the defensive end of the floor. I was pleased. I really was. I was pleased with all of our guys and their effort. To be tired at the end of that seven-day stretch and to get the effort I thought we got out of our guys, I’m pleased.”
From there, the Lions chipped away, working the boards and their inside game as the Tigers struggled from the field.
Covington closed the third quarter with a 10-0 run and scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to get within 44-43 before eventually taking the lead.
Doyle jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter before Harrison’s 3- pointer keyed a run that put the Lions ahead 10-6.
Abedn Kennedy’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 10-9, and the Tigers got within a point three times, trailing 15-14 at the end of the first quarter.
“We were playing well, I thought,” Daniel Kennedy said. “You look up there when you’re playing well, you want to be ahead. It was really a good game.”
Abedn Kennedy is hoping the win give the Tigers some momentum going forward.
“It is coming along,” he said. “This is the first year we’ve all played together. I was the only one who played last year, and this is our first year playing together. This chemistry’s starting to click, and it’s really coming along well.”
NORTH PIKE, MISS. 42, DOYLE 40
Abedn Kennedy led Doyle with 1five points and Morales had 12 as North Pike led 24-17 at halftime.
North Pike led 32-27 heading into the fourth quarter and went 8-for-10 from the line in the fourth as Doyle closed with a 13-10 run.
Doyle went 15-for-24 from the line in the game, while North Pike was 9-for-12.
ST. AMANT 75, DOYLE 50
The Gators led 22-17 at halftime and put the game away with a 30-17 run in the third quarter.
Shoemaker led Doyle with 12 points, Boaz Kennedy added 11, and Morales scored 10.