MANNING -- The Trinity-Byrnes boys team built a 31-17 halftime lead and held off a late LMA charge to claim a 52-46 win.
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The game was close early, with LMA jumping to a 5-0 lead on a Brandon King low-post basket and a Devon Medley three. T-B would rally to score the next six to take its first lead and the lead would change hands four more times before the Titans closed the quarter on an 8-2 run for a 16-11 lead.
After scoring the final two points of the first quarter, T-B would add 11 unanswered points to open the second quarter to build a commanding 27-11 lead. An Umar Lawson jumper in the lane represented the Swampcats' first points of the quarter at the 4:16 mark. The lead was a game-high 18, 31-13, before LMA closed the half with buckets from King and Lawson.
The Titans still led by 16, 37-21, after a Tre' McLeod steal and layup at the 5:26 mark of the third, but the Swampcats then found a spark. Medley scored eight, including two threes and two technical shots to close the quarter, as LMA crept back within eight, 39-31, heading to the final eight minutes.
Medley's fourth trey of the night cut the lead to four, 43-39, with 3:49 to go. The Titans would push the lead back to eight on two occasions before a Chase Lee bucket would make it 49-46 with 31 seconds left. T-B hit three of four free throws and Amarion Coletrain would come away with the offensive board on the one miss. LMA's only shot of that final stretch was a missed 3-pointer by King.
"What killed us this game was the slow start, and then we gave up way too many offensive rebounds," said LMA head coach Will Epps, whose team dropped to 10-5 overall and 0-1 in region play. "That's the bottom line. That killed us, and that's two things that we've got to figure out a way to do a better job of. We didn't get to line very often (hitting on just three of seven attempts). We've got to figure out a way to manufacture points early. We had 17 points in the first half, and you don't beat good teams scoring 17 points in the first half."
Epps said Nick Ford's work on the offensive boards for T-B proved fatal for the Swampcats. Ford closed with 12 points, with all of his points coming on the low post and two baskets coming on a rebound and follow. He was also active in an offensive series that saw T-B come away with a fourth-chance basket and 3-point play opportunity after the lead had been cut to four.
"Our guys played hard, they didn't give up, we battled," Epps said. "This group's battled. We just have to find a way to be consistent with our efforts. Our intensity was a lot better in the fourth quarter than it was in the first and second quarter, and we've got to figure out a way to get that type of effort consistently."
Jordan Jones ended with 21 points to pace the Titans, who improved to 8-2 and 1-0.
Medley led three LMA players in double figures with 18 points. King closed with 13 and Lawson chipped in 11 for the Swampcats, who continue region play with a Tuesday trip to Florence Christian.
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