Thompson’s season ends with loss to Hoover in Elite Eight

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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HANCEVILLE – Despite the successful run they put together during a historic season, the Thompson Warriors were focused on one thing after falling to Hoover 77-53 in the team’s first Elite Eight since 2013 on Tuesday, Feb. 20—Masiah Robinson.

The lone senior on this year’s team of young stars, head coach DJ Black and his players could only thank him for what he did to help get the team on the right trajectory toward greatness once again.

“There’s a lot to look back on and it is hard fresh out of the locker room right now,” Black said. “I have to look at Masiah Robinson, my senior. He’s poured his heart and soul into this program for the last four years.”

The bond between Black and Robinson dates back four years, as Black became an assistant coach under Dru Powell during Robinson’s freshman season.

That allowed the two to build a close connection that culminated with a historic 2023-2024 basketball season during Robinson’s final year with the team.

“When I first got here and with him here as a freshman, we were in a building mode,” Black said. “Coach Powell was doing a great job building it, but what Masiah has been able to do the last four years, it’s just a blessing.”

He added that it was impressive that Robinson not only helped lead the team to its first Elite Eight since 2013, but that he bought into the process it would take, especially during his senior season as the only senior player on a team of young talent.

“It’s very hard to be the only senior on a team, and to be able to lead these young guys and to be able to gain their respect is impressive,” Black said.

After the game, that leadership from Robinson shined through when sophomores Jay Green, Colben Landrew and Daeshaun Morrissette answered in unison “He’s our brother,” when talking about what Robinson meant to each of them.

“He’s a bro to us, he did everything for us,” Green said.

Now, Robinson has helped lay a foundation for the past four years that Black and the younger players will look to carry forward, leading to optimism for the future.

The Warriors ultimately fell behind early in the matchup with Hoover, battling their area foe for the fourth time in the last month, this time with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Hoover jumped out to a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and built upon that lead with a 23-10 second quarter, as Dewayne Brown became a matchup problem inside with his size.

His presence down low, however, also opened up space for the shooters from behind the arc, which led to eight made 3-pointers in the game for the Bucs.

Thompson did battle back with a 19-16 third quarter but trailed 58-39 heading to the final quarter, which became too much of a hole as Hoover closed out the 77-53 win.

Hoover finished the game 29-48 from the floor for a 60.4 percent night shooting the basketball, while the Bucs added a 47.1 percent night from beyond the arc with an 8-17 mark.

“Dewayne is a nightmare matchup at the high school level,” Black said. “He is a very talented player and he’s only a junior. When they shoot the ball from the outside like they shot tonight, it makes it very challenging to guard him inside. So, when you’re trying to take away one of their main strengths inside, now we get away from what we’re doing, long shots and he’s getting rebounds. He’s a really high level player”

Black said he is proud of this year’s team, but the loss hurts because of the standard the Warriors are trying to build.

“The future is exciting, but we live in the now at Thompson. Age is just a number. We’ll reconvene. We’ll worry about next year tomorrow, but even though these guys are young, they wanted to win today,” Black said. “That’s why it hurts. That’s our expectation at Thompson. Obviously today is not the performance we wanted. Tip your hat to Hoover, when they play like that, they can beat a lot of people. They played extremely well today.”

Thompson was led by Landrew with 17 points in the game on 8-12 shooting, while Green finished with 11 points on 5-9 shooting. Morrissette added seven points, while Robinson finished his final game with six points, an assist and a rebound.

Brown finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for Hoover, while Salim London added 19.