ANACOCO – Simpson picked up where it left off last season as one of the top teams in Class C and is off to a hot start.
The Broncos picked up its 14th win of season, defeating Pickering 72-45 Thursday night at the Mickey Goins Memorial Tournament at Anacoco High School.
"I thought we played well," Simpson head coach Jade Losavio said. "We had a bad first quarter, but once we buckled down and started running our offense, we scored. In the second half, I thought we played well.
"(In tournament games) you can get a good look at what they can do and can't do and get them ready for a district run."
Simpson lost in the Class C State Championship game last season and are aiming to be the final team standing this year.
"We keep saying how will you be remembered," Losavio said. "Will you put in the work to make it one step further or just be complacent? They've been putting in a lot of work, and hopefully, we'll take the next step."
Pickering struggled to knock down shots despite getting good looks out of its halfcourt offense.
"We never had a rhythm on offense," Pickering head coach Brandon Jordan said. "Simpson is long and bigger than us. It's hard to do anything against that. If you penetrate, they have long arms, and if you pass it, they get hands on the ball. The biggest thing is that our press didn't hit home one time to the point where we played halfcourt defense for the first time all year.
"We have a problem with shot making. It's not that we're taking bad shots. We just can't put them in the hole."
The Red Devils (5-6) led 8-6 after the first quarter as DeShawn Jackson hit a step-back jumper with seven seconds left in the period.
In the second quarter, the Broncos got their offense rolling, taking a 10-point lead after Dustin Williams hit a free throw with 1.6 seconds left in the half.
"We are always trying to get paint touches and make the extra pass," Losavio said. "I thought we made the extra pass after the first quarter. In the first quarter, we were very ball selfish."
Simpson led 49-38 after the third quarter, and the shooting of the Simpson took over early in the fourth.
The Broncos went on a 15-4 run to start the final period, capped off with a 3-pointer by Cameron Bettez to go up 64-42 with 3:57 left in the game.
Bettez led Simpson with 26 points, drilling six 3-pointers in the win.
"We need him to make open shots," Losavio said. "We're an inside-out team. He'll get good looks, and he needs to knock them down."
Landon Hall added 18 for the Broncos, and Williams and Rhett Petre each added 10.
Jackson led Pickering with 19 points.
"Every game day, we're shooting in P.E. class," Jordan said. "We're in the gym shooting free throws at one end and jump shots on the other end. We've had full practices where we do nothing but shoot. I'll have eight or 10 shooting drills that we just run through, because we don't score well.
"It's not from a lack of trying or lack of practice. Shot making is a skill, and we just haven't picked it up yet."