Oak Grove head coach LaRon Brumfield knew junior Jay Barnes was confident in the first half as Barnes had scored 13 points in the first 16 minutes of action. That's when he told him to shoot his shot.
Twenty-eight second-half points on a night that saw him hit a dozen three-point shots, Barnes finishes with 42 total points in Oak Grove's 88-53 win over rival Petal.
"Once Jay got hot and started knocking it down I told him and the coaches I was going to let him shoot it because he was making me look like a genius [laughs]," said Brumfield.
Not only did Barnes have a big night, but so did the entire team as they scored 88 points - their second-highest points total of the season - while holding Petal to 53 points, and just seven points in the first period.
“We wanted to come out fast. We practice like that. We got into a rhythm and started making some shots, and once we started making shots, the crowd got into it, the guys liked that. They just fed off of it. When you make shots and the crowd gets into it, the guys feed on it. The energy level from the crowd was amazing from the start. If you [the fans] read this, I’m begging you to come to every game like you did tonight,” exclaimed Brumfield.
Petal’s Treylan Smith opened the game with a dunk to lead 2-0, but that was the only lead the Panthers had for the rest of the evening as Dylan Brumfield connected with two shots while Blake Roberts sandwiched one between as Oak Grove took a quick 6-2 lead early in the first period. Two shots from Petal’s Caleb McGill drew Petal within two, 8-6, but Barnes closed out the quarter with a three and two made free throws as Oak Grove outscored Petal 22-7 in the first period.
Oak Grove’s dominance continued in the second period as Barnes and senior Blake Roberts connected on threes while Corneilous Williams and Rahmil Thompson also found shots. Petal sophomore Tristan Gatwood connected with two three-point shots while Smith also connected with two shots in the second, but Oak grove led 46-19 at the end of the first half.
Petal opened up the second half with an 8-0 run as McGill, Gatwood, and Omarion Carter, all scored, however, Barnes and Roberts took over again, connecting with back-to-back threes, killing the Panthers run. The buckets continued to rain down as Oak Grove took a 65-41 lead into the final quarter.
Barnes cemented the win in the fourth quarter as he hit three-straight three-point shots to give the Warriors a 73-43 lead early in the final period. In the final minutes, he connected with two more threes back-to-back, giving the Warriors an 88-53 win as time expired.
“This might be one of the best performances that we have had since I’ve been at Oak Grove. Even though Jay had 42, it is because we moved the ball, we played unselfishly and took the right shots,” Brumfield said, “I wouldn’t call it flawless, but it was pretty good. We don’t change or do things differently. Every game we prepare the same, pregame speeches are the same, and after we go into the locker room we have fun. Everyone tonight was excited for Jay, but I told them we have a long way to go. Enjoy this, get some rest, get your bodies together, rest up, and get ready for Meridian.”
Barnes discussed his performance after the game.
“Coach tells us to be confident and play hard. If we are playing hard, he doesn’t mind us taking shots like that. Our mindset is to stay focused. We know we are going in with a high ranking, but if we stay focused, we will be holding the gold trophy at the end.”
Oak Grove moves to 13-1 on the season and 2-0 in district play. They will square off with Meridian next Tuesday at Meridian. Petal falls to 0-2 in district play with a 10-3 overall record. The Panthers will travel to George County next Tuesday evening.
The Oak Grove Lady Warriors defeated the Petal Lady Panthers 49-23 to improve to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in district play. The Lady Panthers fell to 4-13 overall and 0-2 in district action.