By Tony Burns
JUNCTION CITY - Junction City’s frontcourt tandem of Jerrodney Tubbs and Charles Hoof combined for 31 points and 30 rebounds Friday to push the Dragons to a 73-63 win over Spring Hill.
Junction City improved to 12-7 overall and 10-6 in 2A-8 action. The Bears fell to 2-19, 1-15.
Tubbs led the Dragons with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Hoof scored 13 with 13 boards.
“For us, if we take care of the basketball and don’t hand it over to people, I think we’re pretty tough to stop. Even if we miss it, we can go get it,” said Junction City coach Kendall Hutcheson. “At halftime, I think those two combined had over 20 rebounds. We’ve been out-rebounding people by about 20 boards a game. When we’re doing that, we’re pretty good if we don’t turn it over.”
As big as Tubbs and Hoof were, perhaps the most important spark came off the bench. Jakendall Henderson brought energy and perimeter punch, finishing with 17 points, including 13 in the second half.
“He’s a great offensive player. He can come in and give you instant offense right away,” said Hutcheson. “He is the only guard that we have left from last year that played a little bit. He played some in crunch time last year. So, we expect him to do some good stuff. We need him to pick up his defense a little bit. If he can do that, he’ll be on the floor a lot more because he is an offensive threat. He’s capable of scoring a lot of different ways.”
The Bears were dangerous early behind the hot hand of Martin Hays. The guard scored 14 points in the first five minutes, including four 3-pointers.
Spring Hill rode that hot hand to a 25-12 lead.
Henderson entered the game and scored three buckets in a row. The Dragons cut the gap to 29-27 on Zak Brown’s drive with 3:25 left in the half.
Two free throws by Colby Light gave the Bears a 35-34 halftime lead.
Junction City took control in the third. Tubbs fed Hoof for a pair of high-low baskets. Hoof scored off an assist by Brown as the Dragons took a 44-37 advantage midway in the quarter.
Hays hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Spring Hill to within 44-43.
But, Tubbs and Hoof keyed a 12-0 run, which included 3-pointers by Brown and Henderson as the lead swelled to 56-43 late in the third. The margin stretched to 62-47 on buckets by Tubbs and Henderson to start the fourth.
The third quarter 3-pointers by Hays were his final points of the game. He finished with 25 but was held scoreless in the final 11 minutes.
“We tried not to let him touch the basketball. It seemed like every time he touched it, he scored,” said Hutcheson. “We didn’t do a real good job getting a hand in the first half, especially the first quarter. We’ve done that a couple games this year where we let the other team’s shooter go off in the first quarter. We have to do a better job than that. We went a little bit deny and tried not to let him touch the basketball, made him work real hard just to touch it. I thought that helped a lot.”
Light added 18 for the Bears.
Junction City, meanwhile, hopes to take the momentum into next week’s district tournament at Fordyce.
“I just got word that Fordyce lost by one tonight. So, that puts us as the three seed with this win. It doesn’t matter what Woodlawn does,” Hutcheson said. “We hold the head-to-head with Woodlawn. So, that puts us as a three seed.
“Proud of the kids’ effort. Hopefully, we’re peaking at the right time.”