For years, Hephzibah's girls basketball team has overshadowed the boys team. Steve Nobles is trying to change that.
The third-year Rebels coach watched as the boys put on a defensive showcase Tuesday night and defeated Evans 49-37.
With the win, Hephzibah (10-5, 2-0) moves to first place in its sub-region with Evans (9-8, 2-1), Butler and Lakeside.
"Everybody wants to be undefeated in the region," Nobles said. "One of our goals coming into the year was to win this half of the region and go in (to the region tournament) as the No. 1 seed. It's still a long ways away, but a win is a win."
Nobles is trying to take the Rebels to a place they haven't been since 1977 -- the state playoffs. For that to happen, though, Hephzibah will have to advance past the first round of the region playoffs.
"We're trying to build a tradition here, and it's going to take patience," he said.
Tavarius Maxwell closed the first quarter Tuesday with a steal and a fast-break layup as the Rebels took an 8-7 lead. However, Jason Crouse scored three of his 10 first-half points on a layup and free throw to give Evans a 15-14 lead with 3:30 left in the half.
Hephzibah built a 20-16 lead and was up 21-20 at halftime.
The Rebels came out of the locker room fired up. Maxwell capped an 8-2 run with a 16-foot jumper to give Hephzibah a 29-22 lead.
However, Clint McCalla knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull Evans within 33-29 with 1:18 left in the third quarter. Maxwell responded with a 3-pointer, and Justin Jackson
added a layup as the Rebels took a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Evans committed seven turnovers and scored just two field goals. Hephzibah's Allen Walker hit a pair of bank shots midway through the quarter to give the Rebels a 45-33 lead with 3:32 remaining.
"We came out, and we were patient in getting things done," Hephzibah's Bobby Carter said. "On defense, we're moving, talking, doing all the right things."
Carter led Hephzibah with 14 points, while Crouse paced the Knights with 14.
In the girls game, 10th-ranked Hephzibah took a 64-45 victory over Evans.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.