On paper, it wasn't expected to be much of a contest and the final score indicated the same, but it now gets much tougher for the Olive Branch Conquistador boys' basketball team after a convincing 93-51 MHSAA 5A quarterfinal victory over Wayne County Friday afternoon at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
The Quistors improved to 25-4 with the lopsided victory over the War Eagles. Wayne County ended the year with a record of 16-13.
The game was never in doubt from the very start, as Olive Branch roared out to a 28-10 lead after one quarter of play. The Quistors added 30 points more in the second quarter for a 58-27 halftime lead.
"We had a good game plan going in," said Olive Branch coach Eric Rombaugh. "We were going to take advantage of a few things and we did a pretty good job with it. Wayne County came out in the third quarter with everything they had. That's a good group, they just couldn't make shots."
Wayne County finished the game shooting 14-of-46 for 30.4 percent, while Olive Branch blistered the basket at a 35-of-58 clip or 60.3 percent.
D.J. Jeffries, Olive Branch's standout junior forward, finished with 22 points for the game, 20 of which came in the first half. Kelvin Allen added 16 points and Joe Cooper chipped in with eight for the Quistors.
No one hit double digits for Wayne County, a school located at Waynesboro in the southeast part of the state. Emmanuel Seldon led the War Eagles with nine points and Devonta Pittman came off the bench to add eight points.
Reserves got to play a lot of minutes for Olive Branch in the win, a luxury Rombaugh was happy to have because some of his players were hurting.
"D.J. was hurt tonight and we had a couple other guys banged up," Rombaugh said. "Having them not have to play the entire game helped us a little bit. I thought the bench did pretty good. We didn't drop off very much at all."
Jeffries, in particular, was hurt in practice this week and was not expected to play an entire game, especially given the huge lead.
Rombaugh now looks forward to Tuesday's semifinals against Callaway, a 61-40 winner over Stone Friday evening, as Olive Branch moved one round ahead from a year ago when they were bounced in the quarterfinals last year as a 6A school. Brandon beat the Quistors 71-64,
"We just need to make the right decisions on defense," Rombaugh said about the next contest. "We have to make sure on defense we're helping each other, rotating and doing all the right things and not getting beat. On offense, it's about sharing the ball and passing."
Friday's official statistics are found here: box score
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.