BHS finds shot in fourth quarter

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Billingsley’s varsity boys did not grab its first lead until a little more than six minutes left in the fourth quarter, but finished strong with a 49-43 victory at home against Isabella (1-2, 1-0) on Dec. 5.

The Bears trailed by three points heading into the fourth quarter, but went ahead 32-31 following a steal and layup by La’Darius Starks.

The comeback was made complete, as Starks’ bucket helped fuel a 13-3 run to open the final quarter and allowed Billingsley (2-1, 1-1) to extend its lead.

After a sluggish start to the game for the Bears, the shots eventually began to fall and the offense developed a rhythm that was evident on the scoreboard.

“It wasn’t a pretty win, but I’ll take it,” Billingsley head coach Marvin Morton said. “As long as we’re competing hard, that’s all that I can ask for from these guys.”

Prior to losing the lead in the early moments of the fourth quarter, Isabella had remained out in front despite holding a narrow lead throughout.

Understanding that the offense was struggling to find consistency, Morton stressed the importance of locking down defensively.

As a result, on several occasions a defensive stand or quick change in possession led to a transition opportunity at the other end of the floor.

“I told our guys at half to continue to be aggressive and attack the hole,” Morton said. “I thought we did a good job of forcing turnovers and getting easy layups, which helped us out there at the end.”

Starks joins Raymond Cutler and Brisen Tatum as Billingsley’s primary group of guards. The trio is one that Morton can grow with in his first year as head coach.

“It’s the first time that all three of them have played varsity,” Morton said. “I’m proud of the way they keep an even keel attitude out there. We needed that in a game like tonight.”

Cutler finished with a team-high 15 points, while Starks, Tatum and Darrell Goodson each tallied six points.

Jaqarise Stacy scored a game-high 20 points in the losing effort for Isabella.

The Bears defeated Verbena 52-41 in an area game the prior night.