Keri Brown scored 19 points to lead Mary Persons to a 65-56 win over Howard in a GHSA Region 2-AAAA game Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs forced 18 Howard turnovers while committing only eight to key the win.
“Any time the turnover numbers are so lopsided, it is a great advantage and a recipe for winning basketball games,” said Mary Persons head coach Greg Nix, whose team improves to 2-0 in the region. “We feel like we are much better and more experienced than last year, and getting a win on the road is always good for a basketball team.”
Neither team could get much going offensively in the first half, but the Bulldogs got a second-quarter boost from Tyler Bentley, who came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers to lead his team to a 27-22 halftime lead. Howard got 11 points from Adrian Curry in the first half but was plagued by poor 3-point shooting, hitting only 2-of-15 in the half and 4-of-25 for the game.
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Mary Persons stretched its lead to 37-28 midway through the third quarter on three straight points from Roger Akins, but Howard played its best basketball of the night for the rest of the quarter to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 45-41 at the end of the quarter on four straight points by Marcus Cuyler.
Cuyler ended the night with 12 points and 19 rebounds.
Howard started quickly in the fourth quarter and cut the Mary Persons lead to one at 48-47 on a basket by Curry, but a 3-pointer by Cameron Holden pushed the Bulldogs’ lead back to seven at 56-49 with a little more than three minutes left. Howard was able to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 57-52 on a 3-pointer by Jordan Jedneski, but that was as close as it would get.
“We expected it to be a little sloppy because that’s the way Howard makes you play,” said Nix, whose team was 11-14 a year ago. “The experience we have gained over the last few years has prepared us to be able to handle a first half like we had (Tuesday). Obviously we got a huge lift from Tyler in the first half and then played a solid second half.”
Holden added nine points for Mary Persons, while Curry led Howard with 16.
The girls game was not as close as Mary Persons controlled the second half and cruised to a 64-41 win. Keke Calloway led the way for the Bulldogs with 28 points, while Tyesha Davis added 19. Erica Moore led the way for Howard with 17 points.