Bay Springs knocks off Newton in battle of top ranked small schools

Bay Springs head coach Corey Mackey fires up his Bulldogs team in a win over rival Newton Friday night.

Now that the magical state football championship at Bay Springs fades into the trophy cases, another set of potential champions will try to bring home another gold on the hardwood at Bay Springs. No coach is more prepared than Bay Springs head coach Corey Mackey. His championship pedigree and talented group are the consensus favorite to win it all this season in their new 1A classification.

“Actually, we had a tough opening week. We started off with a 6A Pascagoula. Lost it by one in a game I thought we should have won. We played Wayne County and Newton, and we won both. Stringer is coming next [Monday]. So it’s a stretch of big games, and that’s what our kids need. We need to play a tough schedule to get to where we want to go,” said Mackey.

The Bulldogs were able to knock off one of the top teams in 2A, Newton Friday night, 71-66. They came out hot and took an 11-point lead early in the first. That would end up being their largest lead. Newton hit a buzzer-beater at the half to keep their shot at winning in reach. The Tigers went into the locker room down 33-37 to the home team.

The Tigers simply would not give up in the game, but they never were able to take a lead against the Bulldogs. Newton tied the game twice in the second half, the last being 57-57 at the 4:36 mark, but the Bulldogs were able to pull away and earned the decisive victory.

Bay Springs had three scorers in double digits. Chad Jones and Tremayne Wheaton had 17 points apiece, while Jahkerious Sermons added 14.  

“Tremayne Wheaton had a great first half. We went into the half and talked with Chad [Jones]. In the second half and the fourth quarter, he owned the game,” bragged Mackey.

Mackey was in no way shocked about this back-and-forth rivalry.

“They are a very aggressive group. They run you down and cause you to make mistakes. Then, they capitalize on your mistakes. They also shoot the ball fairly well. When you are hitting two’s and they are hitting three’s, they eventually catch up with you,” he said “This could be the one of the biggest rivalries in the state. They love their basketball. We love ours. It’s always a great atmosphere when we play.”

There was a packed crowd with standing room only available for two great games. Bay Springs is a tough place to win on the basketball court.

“That was big for the kids. This was the number one team in 1A going against the number two team in 2A. That’s what it’s all about. It’s always good when people come out to support both teams,” said Mackey.

When the Bulldogs step on the court, they all will be wearing targets, and no one understands this more than their head coach.

“No matter who we play, we have Bay Springs on our chest. Everybody wants to beat Bay Springs and coach Mackey,” he said.

The Bulldogs will host Stringer Monday night.