Byng edges McLoud in defensive battle, 33-29

Brian Johnson
McLoud's Jacob Jordan (24) guards Byng's Dylan Reed (2) during Thursday morning action at the First United Bank Classic at Bethel High School.

BETHEL ACRES - To say Thursday morning's first-round boys game between the McLoud Redskins and Byng Pirates in the First United Bank Classic was a shooting clinic would be complete blasphemy.

Byng, behind Carter Colombe's 11 points, outlasted McLoud 33-29 in the opening game of the tournament at Bethel High School. An opening-round game between the McLoud and Byng girls, scheduled to start prior to the boys' game, was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues.

Only four games were scheduled to be played in the tournament Thursday (girls and boys combined) due to COVID-19 conflicts at various schools slated to play in the tournament.

McLoud, in suffering its first loss of the season against two wins, was plagued by 20% shooting (9-of-44) while Byng fared a little better at 32% (11-of-34).

With the shooting woes for each team, much of it can be attributed to solid defense as the Redskins forced 19 turnovers and the Pirates created 17.

Jacob Jordan, who shared team-high scoring efforts with Tristan Crook at just six, was a menace to Byng on McLoud's defensive end of the floor as Jordan recorded five steals.

“Our defense followed the game plan. The effort was awesome,” said McLoud head coach Tim Boyer. “The ball just didn't bounce our way. If we continue to play hard like we did today, I think we got a chance to have a lot of success.”

After the two teams were deadlocked at 26 through three quarters, the Redskins went on top in the fourth off a Clint Campbell off-balance jumper in the lane. Luke Norwood later hit the second of two free shots with 6:06 remaining.

However, that was the end of the scoring for McLoud as the Pirates closed the game with a 7-0 run, converting 5-of-7 free throws and getting their first field goal of the fourth with only eight seconds remaining.

The Redskins had a couple of turnovers and missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final 1:39.

Norwood finished with five points, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded a steal for McLoud and Johnny Sparlin tacked on four points to go with four boards and a steal.

Colombe, who tallied all 11 of his points in the second quarter for Byng, was the game's only double-digit scorer. Parker Presley, the Pirates' top scorer for the season and much of last year, was limited to seven points.

“Brenden Howard did a great job (on Presley). It was a great job defensively,” Boyer said.

The Pirates held an 11-point advantage (19-8) with 2:48 to go before halftime, but McLoud closed the gap to six at halftime (20-14) after Crook got a steal and layup and later knocked down 2-of-3 shots after getting fouled on a desperation heave at the buzzer.

The Redskins even took a 26-22 lead with 3:26 left in the third after going on a 9-0 spurt, highlighted by Luke Jordan's 3-point and a Sparlin baseline drive to the hoop in which he drew the foul, executed the layup and nailed the ensuing free shot.

But Byng, with two buckets in the final 3:15, forced the 26-26 tie, heading into the fourth.

McLoud was scheduled to play in the consolation bracket Friday morning.