Pioneers drop Warriors

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   David Crockett point guard Tyler Estep is probably too young to remember the show "Hee Haw," but he did his best picking and grinning, leading the Pioneers to a 55-40 win over non-conference foe Happy Valley Thursday night.
   In a first half, which he scored all 17 of his game-high points, Estep was picking off Warrior cross court passes and grinning all the way as he drove to the basket.
   "The first half killed us," said Happy Valley head coach Charlie Bayless. "That No. 20 (Estep) kept on stealing the ball. We have to learn to take care of the basketball. They were playing a zone and we still were losing the ball.
   "We were non-chalant with the basketball. We were just throwing it around. A good pressure team would have killed us tonight. They only pressed one time and then we threw the ball away. The rest of the time, they beat us by playing half-court defense. That's not good ball-handing when you make that
   many turnovers and they're playing zone."
   Pioneer coach Marty Street, on the other hand, was pleased with Estep's
   night. "He had real good game for us. He stepped up when our other guard
   (Kevin) Hammons got in foul trouble in the first half. Tyler did a great job
   taking up the slack."
   Happy Valley gave a gallant effort, particularly early in the game as they
   were suffering the losses of two key players. Point guard Cody Whitlock was
   out with a knee injury that occurred in a game against Daniel Boone earlier
   in the week and post player Tim Whaley was still on the sidelines, nursing an
   ankle injury.
   "Missing our guard tonight, hurt us," said Bayless. "Stephen Williams came
   in and did pretty good, but it's hard to come in and run the offense. You
   have to have the guard set up."
   Williams was a solid player for the Warriors with nine points, third high on
   the team behind Bobby Morton with 11 and Andrew Bowman with 10. Morton's key
   to leading the team in scoring was aggressively attacking the basket in the
   first half.
   His first four points came at the charity stripe and his first field goal of
   the night was a put back against the Crockett defense. "This was the first
   good game I felt I've played all year," said Morton. "I just tried playing
   where I felt the team needed it. It was hard out there without Tim and Cody.
   I felt we might have won, if we would have had them. Tim's our best
   rebounder. We tried though even without them. I guess it's good the young
   guys got to play. Maybe they can help us out down the road some."
   Happy Valley led 14-12 at the end of one quarter, before Crockett took over
   in the second period. They closed to within three at the 3:00 mark of the
   quarter after a finger roll by Jordy Harrison and a Bowman free throw.
   However, the Pioneers were determined to protect their home floor and opened
   up a 31-20 lead by half time. The Warriors would get no closer than eight
   points the remainder of the contest.
   Besides Estep's big night, Crockett also got good production from William
   Haston with 10 points, Ryan Hopson with seven and Kevin Hammons, who added
   six to the final total.
   "I thought we played good in spurts," said Street. "Other times, we didn't
   play good in spurts, but Happy Valley had a lot to do with that. I thought we
   did a good job defensively and forced them into some shots they didn't want
   to take. But, the disappointing thing was they got some second chances on
   rebounds. You always feel like you're playing uphill against Happy Valley."
   Despite that uphill climb, the Pioneers were able to improve to 6-3 on the
   season. Happy Valley Warriors falls to 2-5 with the loss with their next game
   scheduled for Monday at Johnson County.