But once the tough, no-foul defense returned, Thomson was racing.
The Bulldogs rebounded after a second-quarter struggle to force turnovers and return to their transition game in a 78-66 win Tuesday night at Hephzibah.
“It’s about the expectation and demand that we put on defense,” Thomson coach Michael Thomas said. “With me, your ticket to minutes is if I think you can play defense.”
Thomson (2-1) had gone up 11 early but then went on a scoreless drought that lasted for more than four minutes in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Hephzibah forced turnovers and often went to the line to get points during a 19-4 run.
But the Bulldogs improved defensively and forced mistakes as nine players scored behind a defense that led to breaks and easy scores. Sherrod Hart had 19 points in the win, getting six in the fourth after a blazing start to the game where he put up nine in the opening quarter.
But Thomson’s points weren’t all about the transition offense. Post player Stevon Hart was a force near the rim, gobbling up rebounds for second chances. He had 17 points.
Hephzibah (3-2) eventually fell behind by 13 after three quarters, and though more trips to the line made it close – Logan Johnson scored 12 of his team-best 19 points at the foul line – the lead wasn’t seriously threatened in the final quarter.
In the girls game, Hephzibah jumped out to an lead early and cruised to a 63-29 win.
Rachel Armenta was unsolvable down low, as she not only controlled the glass but also had nice connections with guard Shashana Miller for easy layups. Armenta scored 19 of her 20 points before halftime, when the Lady Rebels were up 31-17.
Thomson’s Alesheia Johnson showed good speed to drive in for layups to get 16 points, but Hephzibah’s defense was usually stingy; the Lady Bulldogs had only 12 second-half points.
The low-scoring half allowed Hephzibah (4-3) to add on to its advantage, with Daeundra Jordan having a mix of putbacks and solid range on shots to dominate like Armenta.
“She can help us because she’s strong,” Hephzibah coach Wendell Lofton said about Armenta.
“Right now our girls are playing really well.”