NEWTOWN — The Mingo Central High School boys’ basketball team finally got back on the basketball court after several postponements due to the recent winter conditions.
Coach Brad Napier’s squad pressed and outran visiting Mount View 68-30 on Tuesday night at the MCHS gym.
Senior Alex Lee led the way with 16 points, including a crowd-pleasing dunk. Lee, who signed with Concord College on Wednesday to play football, also pulled down six rebounds and had two blocked shots.
Junior Dikembe Dixson, a transfer from Bardstown, Ky., came off the bench to score 14 points, including a pair of dunks, six rebounds and three blocked shots. It was his first game in a Miners’ uniform.
The Miners came out with smothering full-court pressure and was able to get a lot of easy transition baskets off turnovers.
Chase Hatfield chipped in eight points and had the assist of the night. Hatfield bounced the ball off the backboard to Dixson for a fast break slam-dunk that got the crowd on their feet. That ended the third quarter as MCHS led the Knights 50-22 heading into the final period.
Steve Hammond had six points, while Adam Dillon and Julius Hatcher each added five points for the Miners. Coach Napier played 15 different players and 12 of them scored.
Mingo Central led 16-4 after one quarter and 30-15 at the half. Most of the scoring was in the paint. The Miners were 10-27 from the field, but 0-for-8 from behind the arc. Dixson had nine first half points, Lee eight and Hammond six.
Both Hammond and Mallie May, the two starting guards, got into a little foul trouble early in the game and had to sit out for a while.
Mingo Central made 16-for-24 at the charity stripe.
“I thought we played well at times,” Napier said. “I thought we were a little bit rusty. But, when you go 2 ½ weeks without a game, you kind of expect that. I was pretty pleased and thought we played good. We tried to press a lot every game. That’s a way for us to get some transition baskets. We’re better when we are in transition and pushing the ball up and down the floor and playing fast.”
Dixson, a 6-foot-7 guard, played for the first time with the Miners. He came to Mingo Central with his cousin 6-6 Montrell Dixson. Montrell did not suit up against Mount View.
Mingo Central was scheduled to play at Chapmanville on Wednesday night in Cardinal Conference action.
“We’re just excited to get to play again. It seems like it’s been a month since we played,” said Coach Napier, a Harts native and former Logan assistant coach. “These guys are tired of practicing – I’m tired or practicing – we’re just ready to play some games.”
Dikembe is a 6-foot-7 junior guard and Montrell is a 6-6 forward/guard and both have had more than enough practices to make them eligible since their move to Mingo County back in early January.
“They both have their 14 practices in and should be ready to go this week,” Napier said in an earlier interview. “It’s been a long two or three weeks. We haven’t gotten to play much because of the weather. We’re excited to get these guys on the court and see how we play with them out there. These guys fit in perfect to our system. They like to get up and down the floor and play fast. These guys excel in that kind of open-court game. They are very athletic and both of them handle the ball well and can shoot the ball.”
Napier said the Dixson’s have a lot of skills.
“They are just multi-skilled players. They are going to help our entire team,” he said. “We don’t have to play guys tired and we can rest out players. We have more depth. This will allow our guys to be more aggressive on defense and not have to worry about getting into foul trouble. Now, instead of having seven or eight guys that we play, we will have nine or 10. I think this is a big help in many ways to have these two guys.”
Dikembe Dixson said he’s ready to play again.
“I really like it here and everyone treats me nice. I love the basketball team too,” Dikembe said of his new school. “I really like the offense and the coaches let me create and go to the basket. And it lets me pass off to my teammates.”
Montrell Dixson said he has received a warm welcome at Mingo Central.
“I like it a lot and people are treating us with a lot of respect,” Montrell said last Thursday during a break from practice. “The team is great and I’m really getting used to playing with these guys.”
Montrell, who likes to play a 2 or 3 (shooting guard or small forward) said he is meshing well with his Miner teammates and he has picked up the system quickly.
“I want to just continue to improve and help our team make it to the state (tourney),” Montrell added.
Dikembe has already been getting some interest from several Division I college programs and said he likes West Virginia, Marshall, Kentucky and Louisville.
Both players, who moved from Bardstown, Ky., say they are excited to get out on the hardwood and help the Miners’ basketball team.
Napier said both players have blended in well with their new teammates and at their new school.