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Lone Grove boys basketball holds off late rally to beat Dickson

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Lone Grove's Jeshua Miller drives to the hoops as Dickson's  Johnny Smith (25) and Jzavionn Bennett on Friday night. Miller led the Longhorns with 16 points in a 46-38 win.

DICKSON — COVID-19 protocols are having a big impact on this season, especially when squads are forced to miss numerous games.

The Dickson and Lone Grove high school boys basketball teams are a perfect example of that, but they put that in the rearview mirror Friday during a battle that the Longhorns won 46-38.

“It was a little bit sloppy, no one can take care of the ball and do some things,” said Lone Grove head coach John Garrett. “But this is the type of game where everyone competes so hard. Sometimes when you’re trying to polish stuff, you get a little bit out of control. Guys on both sides want to win so bad. It was a good game. We needed that and we need to play a lot more games like that.”

It’s safe to say both teams want to see more contests as the season is winding down and everyone is looking for wins.

The Longhorns looked to be in the driver's seat for a victory as they led 42-23 early in the fourth quarter. However, the Comets had other plans with a 9-0 run that made things interesting.

That momentum was short-lived though. Lone Grove made enough plays down the stretch to stay out in front to tally the win.

“We were rolling pretty good there until we had to take a little hiatus from games for a while,” Garrett said. “We’re still trying to work out some bugs, but Dickson plays hard. It’s always a close game, no matter who’s the better team. It’s just a dogfight every time, especially when we come over here. It’s tough. It was a good win. We’ll take any win we can get, but we’re still looking to polish up some stuff.”

Dickson's Jagger Porter, left, battles Lone Grove's Nick Kelch for a loose ball on Friday night.

The Longhorns were playing just their second game since Jan. 15, but Jeshua Miller didn’t show it with a game-high 16 points, while Andy Dunham chipped in nine and Gavin Peery tallied seven.

Meanwhile, Charvis Wright led Dickson with 15 and Johnny Smith added 14 as the Comets were also dealing with struggles due to COVID-19.

“We’re kind of rusty because I think three of my starters have been out for a while and it’s their first game back,” said Comets head coach Norman Tippeconnie. “There was some rust there. We have to get back in the gym and get ready. We’ll just keep working to get better.”

That rust showed on both sides during a first half that featured a combined 32 points. However, the offense picked up in the second half, highlighted by the Longhorns pushing their lead to 38-19 before the Comets rallied within striking distance.

“We did some good things in the fourth quarter,” Tippeconnie said. “We never gave up and fought back. Give Lone Grove credit. They played well for two to three quarters. We got off to another slow start. It’s been something that’s happening. I think at times we get too fast on offense. We turn it over at a high rate and we don’t get shots. But credit our kids for the fourth quarter — they forced turnovers, put pressure on them and we were able to get back in the game a little bit.”

Dickson (4-10) looks to bounce back at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Plainview, while Lone Grove is on its home floor Tuesday against Madill.

“We’re just getting ready for Madill because we don’t know if we’re going to get another game,” Garrett said. “We just take it one game at a time. We have steps that we need to take to be better — like finish a game off at the end and not lose our minds a little bit. We have some things to work on and the guys know that.”

Beau Bearden can be reached at bbearden@gannett.com or on Twitter @ArdmoreitePreps.