Thompson boys sweep area regular season

Published 9:49 pm Monday, February 9, 2009

The Thompson Warriors weren’t supposed to be here.

After last year’s Elite Eight senior class graduated, not even head coach Jeff Nichols thought the Warriors could emulate last season’s success.

But Monday night, that’s just what the Warriors did.

Just days after defeating Spain Park, 60-54, the regular-season Class 6A, Area 10 champs conquered another feat by downing the Hoover Bucs, 55-49.

“In November when we were 1-5, I sat them down in the bleachers and told them … we were going to work hard to be perfect,” Nichols said. “It was a complete team effort.”

The Warriors got off to a hot start by taking a 13-6 lead in the first quarter, but the Bucs came charging back in the second half to tie the game and then take the lead with just over a minute remaining in the half.

However, Thompson’s Jordan Chism ended the Bucs’ lead almost as soon as Hoover got it by downing a three to give the Warriors a 25-22 lead heading into the locker room.

In the second half, it was more of the same as the two teams closed out the second quarter with Thompson leading 39-38.

The final quarter, though, belonged to the Warriors as senior Siddeeq Cooper made several crucial shots and free throws to close out the victory, while the Thompson defense finally found the solution to defending the Bucs’ inside game.

“We don’t match up very good against them,” Nichols said. “We have to scramble to keep them out of the post.”

Cooper finished with a game-high 28 points, including 15 in the first half.

Josh Neville and Bernard Smith each had six points for the Warriors, while Chism had four.

For the Bucs, Keon Blackledge had a team-high 19 points, followed by Zac Richards with 14 points.

The win means the Warriors will host the sub-regional Thursday and Friday.

“It’s always good to play at home,” Nichols said.