PELHAM -- Miller County point guard Will Martin realized early in Tuesday's game at previously unbeaten Pelham that the Pirates' fate would not rest entirely on his shoulders.
Martin, however, still led the way as he finished with a season-high 25 points, 18 of which were scored from the foul line, during an 85-74 victory. The Pirates (3-1), who made 30-of-42 free throws as a team, answered every Hornets run with one of their own. Juwan Jones also scored in double figures for the Pirates with 20 points, followed by Zenario Shuler with 10.
"Everybody was with me on the floor (and) they finished on their shots," Martin said.
Miller County, in fact, took a big step to finishing off the Hornets early as it took a 16-8 lead in the first quarter. From there, the closest margin the Hornets moved within was seven points. Miller County coach Tim Martin, Will's father, had a colorful way of illustrating his team's ability to keep up the intensity despite several late Pelham runs.
"We're like gnats, we just keep coming at you," he said. "Basketball is just a game of runs, one run after another. They kept coming, and so did we."
Will, who is in his fourth year as the Pirates' starting point guard, created free-throw opportunities by driving the lane whenever he could.
"I'm just happy with his ballhandling," his father said. "That was just clutch for us. We have a lot of good, athletic football players on our team, and when they are on the basketball court, Will makes everybody look good."
After neither team scored more than 20 points during any of the first three quarters, the Pirates then outscored the Hornets, 34-31, the rest of the way.
"Free throws, we got them from everybody," Will said. "And off their trap defense, we were able to get some easy layups."
Pelham (3-1) was led by Darius Thomas with 12 points, followed by D.T. Almond and Domonique Brown with 10 each. Hornets coach Warren Roberts did not offer any excuses after the game.
"We got outcoached and outhustled," Pelham coach Warren Roberts said. "I think the kids will respond in a positive way. They just know that (Tuesday) was not their best effort."
PELHAM GIRLS 65, MILLER COUNTY 49:
Octavia Kierce scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the second half to help the Lady Hornets pull away after leading, 19-18, at halftime.
Kierce, however, was not as happy about that as she was about her team's defense.
"We got our defense going and made big plays on our fast break in transition," she said.
Tashavnessy Reese scored 15 for the Lady Hornets, followed by D'Ambria Thomas with 13 and Evelyn Florence with 12.
"(Kierce) is just a sophomore, and she is coming along really strong," Pelham coach Derrick Lavatte said. "She can do it all."
Miller County was led by Katrina Crankfield's 17 points, followed by Sukena Diamond with 13 and her sister, Salina Diamond, with 12.