Heidelberg remained on a dominate hardwood course Saturday afternoon during the Alfa Classic held at Bay Springs High School. Fueled by senior guard Randarius Hughes, the Oilers easily knocked off Lumberton, 72-47.
Hughes rolled off a game-high 25 points only playing total minutes near half a game in the blowout win over the Panthers, accumulating six dunks throughout the contest. And, he and the Oilers (15-5, 4-0) are excited to get back into a very competitive Region 5-2A schedule this week where Heidelberg currently sits as the front-runner undefeated over perennial power Bay Springs and a formidable Taylorsville team. Heidelberg has easily defeated rival Bay Springs several times this season during tournament play and topped Taylorsville on the road in a close 86-84 region matchup on January 10. The Oilers will face Bay Springs again at home in a pivotal region matchup on January 21.
“I feel like we are coming right along. By February, we should be playing our best basketball, and we are looking forward to February,” Hughes said. “We plan to bring the defense together more, keep going on offense, bring the team together, and pull this thing off. I have a good team contributing around me.”
Heidelberg ran out to a 26-10 lead over Lumberton Saturday afternoon in the opening period. The Oilers extended that lead to 41-24 with the starting five sitting on the bench in the second period.
After halftime, Hughes banged off the beginning of the third period by polishing off an absolute alley-oop dunk. Tashun Clark drained a 3-pointer, and Donovan Parker finished off a layup before the Panthers could even blink. With Heidelberg's starting five take a breather midway through the third, Lumberton's Tyler Bush hit a couple threes to keep the game respectable, but the Oilers went on to route the Panthers. Hughes dunked with force for the final time in the game to give Heidelberg a 68-41 advantage with 5:26 left to play.
“We played well today and tried to play some of the younger guys because we have four games in five days coming up,” said Heidelberg head coach Billy Wright.
The most important of the games in the very near future will be against region foes Bay Springs this Tuesday night and Taylorsville on January 24. Wright spoke very highly of the region competitiveness his team faces in the coming days.
“Bay Springs is always going to be more competitive in district games. We still have to watch out for them. Taylorsville played us tough the other night [79-75 Heidelberg win] , and I know they and Bay Springs went down to the wire the other night [86-84 Taylorsville win],” Wright explained. “This is a really competitive district right now. It's always competitive. One time, us and Bay Springs, and Newton went to Jackson. Another time, us and Bay Springs went to Jackson. Taylorsville is well-coached over there right now, and they are a really good team. It's a really competitive district, and there are a lot of games left to play.”
At this point, Wright is extremely happy where his team is in region play.
“I love the spot we are in right now; we are the only one that hasn't lost,” he said with a laugh.
Along with Hughes' 25 points against Lumberton, Clark scored 10 and M. Jones finished with 9 points to lead Heidelberg.
Heidelberg is 4-0 in region play, followed by Taylorsville (3-1), and Bay Springs (2-1). Puckett (2-2), Mize (0-3), and Enterprise (0-4) round out the bottom portion of the region.