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THA boys (5-1) surging

Subheadline: 
Rebels have won 3 straight

  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to Jasper County Sun Times Zack Black helped the Rebels to two wins in their first three games. Carmen Pinckney/Special to Jasper County Sun Times Zack Black helped the Rebels to two wins in their first three games.
  • Carmen Pinckney/Special to Jasper County Sun Times Thomas Heyward basketball coach Bob Layman looks forward to more practice time this month.

A busy schedule has been good, but Bob Layman’s looking forward to the rest of December.

Thomas Heyward’s boys basketball team had 10 games scheduled from Nov. 17 to Dec. 15, including five in 10 days.

The games have quickly gotten the Rebels into the SCISA season, but Layman, THA’s coach, thinks his team will improve once it gets more practice time.

THA (5-1 as of Tuesday) hosts St. John’s Christian on Thursday and Holly Hill on Friday. The Rebels visit The Habersham School in Savannah Friday, Dec. 15 before a holiday break until Jan. 3.

On Tuesday, THA beat visiting Andrew Jackson 68-52. Trace Lowther lead the Rebels with 15 points, Zack Black added 13 points and seven rebounds. Bobby Payne finished with 12 points and J.R. Patterson led with 10 rebounds and four steals.

The respite will give Layman time to schedule more practices to work on the fundamentals, including the man-to-man defense.

Layman said last week the Rebels were too often attempting to jump and block shots instead of looking to stand firm and take charges. He said the offense has been good, but shot selection and ball movement can improve.

More practices will give Layman time to work on everything, with the intention of having the team at its best when the region season gets going at the start of the new year.

“As long as we are ready at region time, that’s the goal,” he said.

Last Tuesday, THA lost 73-64 at Andrew Jackson. Black and Bruzza Pusha each had 16 points. Black added eight rebounds.

On Nov. 30, the Rebels beat host Holly Hill 72-32. The Rebels were led by Bobby Payne’s 15 points. Black added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lowther had 12 points. Layman said the defense was much better.

A night later THA beat The Habersham School 64-49. The Rebels trailed at halftime 29-27 but the defense Layman has been looking for showed up in the third, as THA outscored Habersham 18-7. Trace Lowther, Bruzza Pusha and Bryce Tillotson each had 11 points.

Layman said the young team has been used to playing against opponents of similar size, which in the past led to easier blocked shots. But they’ve faced taller opponents this season, including Andrew Jackson’s 6-foot-9 Grayson Carter.

“When you jump, you are using one arm often and leaving lanes open for easy layups,” Layman said.

Layman’s encouraged by the team’s depth. He’s been using a steady 10-man rotation and had three different starting lineups each of the first three games.

He’d like to have a solid starting unit eventually.

“We don’t have anybody who has risen above anyone else in playing a complete game,” said Layman, noting a couple of players have been good at create opportunities for their teammates.

Layman says practice will reinforce the basics.

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