In a battle of unbeatens last Friday night, the McKenzie High School Rebels held off a stiff challenge from the visiting Camden Lions and claimed an 89-82 victory.
In the girls’ game, the hosting Lady Rebels turned in a solid defensive performance for a 47-27 triumph over the Lady Lions.
In the nightcap, McKenzie watched a 20-point halftime lead evaporate as the Lions got hot and wrested the momentum away from the Rebels. Camden hit five threes in the third frame as it powered to a 23-9 spree. The rally cut the Rebel lead to four, 54-50, in just over four minutes. Chase Douglas deposited three of those triples while Davis Hopkins and Garrett Vick knocked down the other two.
The Rebels turned the ball over nine times to Camden’s one and the Lions were 12-21 from the floor in the third. The Rebels were just 5-11. Camden trailed 63-59 after three.
In the fourth, Camden tied the game at 63 on Duffey’s four-point play just seven seconds in. From there, the two teams traded buckets. McKenzie edged to a 74-70 margin on Lucas King’s bucket with 5:33 to play. Camden scored the next six points without reply to lead for the first time since the 5:46 mark of the first (7-6), 76-74 with just under four minutes to play.
The Rebels recalibrated themselves, and Camden never led again. King buried a three for a 77-76 lead. The Rebels went on a 15-6 run to the finish, including a 10-of-12 spree at the line in the final 2:33. Lazarik Hill and King were each 5-6 during that stretch. Incidentally, there were 48 total fouls called in the game.
In the first half, McKenzie attacked the basket to build its 20-point cushion. King and post Ben Austin had little trouble finding the mark from the paint as McKenzie unlatched itself from a Camden 7-6 lead. The Rebels went on a 16-3 run to secure, for the moment, control of the game. MHS led 29-15 at the horn. The Rebels were 11-22 from the field while Camden struggled with a 5-19 clip. McKenzie enjoyed a 15-10 rebounding edge.
The Rebels expanded its 34-20 advantage to 24 with a 21-1 run for a 45-21 lead. Tytus Guajardo and Duffey closed the gap with four quick points to end the half. McKenzie led 45-25.
Four Lions reached double figures. Hopkins was tops with 21 (four triples), Douglas added 19, Guajardo scored 17 and Duffey recorded 14. Guajardo and Duffey each had five boards.
McKenzie’s King led all scorers with 36 points. Ben Austin was next with 26 and Hill had 10. Austin led the Rebels with 13 boards.
In the girls’ game, McKenzie delivered a good defensive effort, forcing 29 Camden turnovers for a 47-27 victory. The Lady Rebels needed to rely on their defense because they struggled shooting, especially from point-blank range. McKenzie was 15-57 from the floor.
But the Lady Rebels were able to get in passing lanes early and cause shooting woes as well. Camden didn’t get many good looks at the bucket, shooting just 3-10 in the final two frames.
Despite its problems, Camden was able to surge toward halftime. Trailing 11-7 after one, McKenzie took a 15-9 lead, but the Lady Lions, led by Rylee Pafford, Hailey Rushing and Jadyn Staggs, outpaced MHS 9-2 to the break to lead 18-17.
Camden opened with Christine Nazi’s hoop, and the Lady Lions began the third with a 21-17 lead. But McKenzie caught a spark, lit by Lilly Bennett. She hit the next six points, followed by a pair of hoops by McKayla Gill and the Lady Rebels’ 10-0 run put them up 27-21. Lowrey put out the fire with her basket with 1:29 left in the third and the Lady Rebels led by a scant four, 27-23.
As the final canto unraveled, McKenzie’s Camille Travis delivered a three for a 29-26 lead, which served as a precursor to what was ahead. With 6:14 to play, Staggs convered a three-point play to close the MHS lead to 36-27. The Lady Lions would not score again as McKenzie went on a 19-0 run to the horn.
Staggs led the Lady Lions with nine points and six rebounds. Lowrey had six, Rushing four, Nazi and Brenna Caldwell three each and Pafford with two. Camden was 7-15 from the line.
Bennett led McKenzie with 19 Points. Gill had 11 points and nine rebounds. McKenzie was 12-20 from the stripe.
Camden’s girls fall to 2-3 while the Camden boys are 4-1. Camden hosts East Hickman Tuesday and Fairview for a pair of District 11AA games.