By Charlie Chitwood
LONGVIEW – Somewhere in Arp, Texas, some boy’s momma told him late Tuesday night that there would be days like this.
Jefferson High’s boys scored before the game started, frequently during the first quarter, and then for good measure even tallied again after the first quarter clock read 0:00 en route to a 77-35 blistering of Arp in the Class 3A-Region Bi-District basketball playoffs at Pine Tree High School. Treston Dowell’s Bulldogs (26-5) now advance to the Area round for a second straight year and will face Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill on Friday at 7pm in Hallsville.
Arp’s long night started off by being given a technical foul for dunking during pre-game warm-ups, a violation of UIL rules. After Dee Mitchell hit one-of-two free throws before the clock started ticking, Jefferson raced to a 9-2 lead in the first 95 seconds and was up 24-7 before Kepha Luster was fouled while shooting as time expired. Luster hit one of two attempts while zeros showed on the scoreboard clock, giving the Dawgs a 25-7 lead from which they never looked back.
Mitchell and Cameron Hicks each hit a pair three-pointers en route to 18-point nights while Kylan Thomas and Eric Gipson tallied 11 points apiece on a night Jefferson missed very little at close range. Gipson’s three dunks were all crowd pleasers – and came during regulation play.
Dowell’s Dawgs coasted into the halftime locker room with a 37-18 advantage, then stepped on the gas again in the third quarter. While Arp didn’t get into the peach basket until the 3:08 mark – nearly the first five minutes of the quarter – Jefferson was busy filling it up at their end of the floor with a 26-4 frame. Hicks in particular took the Tigers lunch and ate it right in front of them, following one basket with a steal-and-score and then repeating as the Bulldogs built a 40-point lead by the end of the frame.
Jefferson outscored Arp 14-12 in the fourth to close out the 42-point victory.
Curtis Henry and Taylor Smith posted six points apiece in the contest while Lyric Rawls (four points) and Jordan Randle (two) found the basket as well. Luster’s converted free throw after the horn sounded in the first quarter was his scoring total for the night.
Arp’s Demarvion Overshown was the only Tiger to reach double-digits and scored six of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Two of his six field goals were slam-dunks that came during regulation.
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