Second-half defense clinches road game for Mexico boys

Second-half defense clinches road game for Mexico boys
Daeye Miller goes up for two on Friday night in Mexico's win over Moberly. Miller misfired just once on the night, scoring 22. [Eric Mattson]
Dave Faries

In January, Mexico lambasted the Spartans at home, 81-45. On Friday night in Moberly, the Bulldogs chewed them up again, winning 73-56.

But this game had a different tone from the start. Moberly held a 35-33 lead at the half and clung to the narrow gap into the third quarter, thanks to a 20 point outburst by Jaisten Payne.

Still on top by one, Jordan Mitchell sparked a turnaround on a coast to coast break. Drew Blevins found a comfortable spot at the top of the arc and sank a three. Daeye Miller intercepted a pass and it was off to the races again.

Suddenly Mexico was out front by 14 points.

“The message at the half was to take pride in our defense,” head coach Darren Pappas reported.

As Miller, Blevins and Isaiah Reams racked up points, the Bulldogs also gnawed hard at the other end of the court.

The team pulled down 23 defensive boards – a one arm grab by Miller with two Spartans tugging on him is just one example of the defensive grit. They took advantage of forced errors, scoring 14 off Moberly turnovers.

With Miller and Raef Yager patrolling inside, the Spartans managed just 8 points in the third, while Mexico mounted a 26 point barrage.

That proved to be the difference, sending the Bulldogs to 17-3 on the season, 6-1 in conference and top seed come district play.

Miller was unstoppable from the floor, hitting 10 of 11, scoring 22 on the night to go with 12 rebounds. Reams with 20 and Blevins with 18 joined him in double digits, with Blevins grabbing 7 rebounds.

Mitchell added 6 points and Yager 5, to go with 3 boards.


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