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McKenzie holds off Highland Home, falls to RL

The McKenzie boys pulled out a close game against Highland Home in the Red Level Christmas tournament on Friday before falling to the hosting Tigers on Saturday.

Against the Flying Squadron, McKenzie went in at halftime trailing 35-25, but the defense held Highland Home to only four points in the third period.

By that time, McKenzie had cut the lead to two.

The Tigers used balanced scoring to pull out the win in the fourth period — Armond Ball had five points and Melvin Owens, Cliff Pugh and Emmanuel Johnson all contributed two points.

“We played a good game,” said head coach Miles Brown. “We had a lot of offensive putbacks on the board, and we managed to keep the ball away from them at the end.”

Johnson was the leading scorer with 16 points, while Ball and 13 and Calvin Henderson added 11.

In the second round of the tournament, the Tigers ran into Red Level and the home-standing Tigers came away with an 87-55 win.

Red Level jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, but several big shots from Pugh cut the lead to 16-8.

Red Level led 23-11 at the end of the first quarter, but McKenzie managed to slow the game down and stay within ten points for much of the second period.

However, Red Level caught fire just before halftime and the lead at the break was 51-24.

“They came out on fire and were hitting shots from outside,” Brown said. “One thing is we’ve got to play better transition defense.”

Johnson again led the Tigers with 21 points, and Pugh added 17.