Hood scores 33 points in Hibriten win

Nov. 23—LENOIR — Kobe was in the house on Tuesday night.

In fact, he took it over.

Soaring to the hoop like the legendary NBA star of the same first name, Kobe Hood cut loose for 33 points as Hibriten whipped Avery County 86-70 in non-conference basketball action at Beane Court.

The performance was no doubt reminiscent of viewing a highlight reel of late Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant.

"I was just trying to bring the team on, get a little dough" Hood said. "Trying to get my team right."

Hood, a senior guard, finished strong with 10 points in the fourth quarter before taking a seat with 2:36 remaining. That was after he scored off a steal to push the drubbing to 81-58.

"Kobe has that potential," Hibriten coach Mikey Corpening said. "We're just trying to get him to learn within the system. He's always been a good one-on-one player, but we just want to play him within the system — and he's been doing that since he's been with us, so it's good to have somebody that can go off like that."

Hood started off with eight points in the opening period, when the Panthers (1-1) grabbed a 19-10 advantage. He followed with seven more before intermission, when it was 42-25.

Hood had 15 at the break.

"I was off to a slow start, but that's just like every game," Hood said.

Hood delivered eight points in the third, when Hibriten's largest cushion was 23.

"I look up to him, because we have the same name," Hood said of Bryant. "That's who I'm named after, but other than that I loved to watch him."

The Panthers' Kaylen Bowers ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer. Teammate Deonte Jacobs converted off a steal just before the halftime buzzer.

In the final period, Thomas Vaught drove to the basket following a steal at the three-minute mark and Hibriten was coasting 60-37.

Hood made it 64-44 through three periods.

Down the stretch, Hood connected on three baskets as the rout was extended to 23 points. Camdyn Foddrell also nailed a 3-pointer in that run.

Vaught tossed in 13 points for Hibriten and came up with three steals. Bowers totaled 10 points and three steals.

Hood chipped in four steals and six rebounds. Nylan Battle cleaned the glass for 15 boards, while hitting seven points and making three steals.

"Nylan is the best all-around player in this area," Corpening said. "He can play one, two, three, four or five. He can rebound, play defense, hit the three — he can do it all. He's just really a Swiss Army knife-type guy for us."

The Panthers drained six 3-pointers, including a pair from Bowers. Hibriten won the rebounding battle 46-29 and was 4 of 9 on free throws.

Avery (0-1) was 20 of 32 at the foul line. Landon Ingham paced the Vikings with 15 points, while Mason Bailey hit 11.

"We have to get better at defense," Corpening said. "We have to learn how to really shut people down, not just be satisfied with a 10-,15, 20-point lead — but learn how to shut people down."