The Red Devils (2-1) came out scorching hot from the field, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone to take a 30-18 advantage into the second period before Trevor Shell and the Tigers kicked it into high gear.
Temple (0-4) received a monster night from the senior forward, who led all scorers with 30 points and 23 rebounds, helping pull the Tigers within 42-36 at halftime.
After both teams swapped a trey and a field goal to start the third quarter, the Tigers went on a 13-0 run, taking their first lead of the night and stretching it to nine points at 56-47 on a Elijah McFarland 3-pointer before the Red Devils countered with a run of their own.
Bowdon would score the next nine points to knot the game up at 56-all, but Temple scored five of the final seven points of the period to go into the fourth up, 61-58.
The Red Devils scored the first six points of the final quarter to regain the lead at 64-61 and never let Temple get back on top, though the Tigers wouldn’t allow the lead to stretch beyond six at any point.
“We played well, but that third quarter we were real sluggish. But my guys, we have a great characteristic about ourselves. We have the ability to step it up in key moments,” Smith said. “We’ve been consistent in the last three games in that area, so I got after them. But they worked hard and when the moment’s right, we step up and play Red Devil basketball.”
Temple coach Steve Robinson was also proud of the way his team weathered the storm after Bowdon came out red-hot in its home opener.
“It’s a testament to the group to be resilient. I mean, they had to come back from a blistering first half of shooting from Bowdon. Those guys were lighting it up,” Robinson said. “But I think we stayed in character. We played the way we’re coached to play. We played hard. But I think the overall goal coming into this game was to make sure we got better. And I think we did. We fixed some things, but we’ve still got a list of other things that we’ve got to work on.”
Along with Shell’s 30-point, 23-rebound effort, Rashaan Dobbs added 13 points, while Isaiah Strozier posted 11 points and McFarland finished with seven points and 14 rebounds for Temple.
Tomaz Jordan led the way for Bowdon with 19 points, while Juwan Maze dropped in 16 off the bench and Marcus Thurman finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
And after pulling out the ‘W’ in his home debut, Smith is hopeful of riding that momentum into next week.
“It feels good. I use this analogy with my guys all the time. You never let a person come in your home and kick over your furniture. So you never let the opposition come on your court and beat you in your home. Right? But it feels good to get a win in front of the home crowd,” Smith said. “I love the momentum, and our phrase for next week in practice is momentum. So we’re going to take this momentum and keep going forward.”
Bowdon girls 52, Temple 34: The Lady Tigers (0-4) hung tough in the first half, trailing just 23-18 at intermission, but Bowdon (2-1) was able to pull away during the final 16 minutes — outscoring the visitors 15-8 in the third and 14-8 in the fourth for the 18-point home win.
First-year Red Devilette coach Remonica Stephens wasn’t sure why her team came out looking a little lethargic early, but she was glad to see it get going after the break.
“That’s what I told the girls. Most teams come out in the first half and play hard and then in the third quarter look a little sluggish. We look sluggish in the first half. In the second half, we played,” Stephens said. “I don’t know if it was because it was the first home game of the season, nerves, jitters or what? But I’m just glad we showed up in the second half.”
Temple coach Rhett Parson said his ball club continues to take steps in the right direction, but he said the next challenge is to be able to play hard for all four quarters.
“I tell you what, these girls are growing up. I’ve got seniors and I told them at halftime, ‘Look, last year this wasn’t even a game. You were getting beat by 40 almost every game. Now you’re in ball games and we have to learn how to compete for four quarters.’ And they haven’t done that,” Parson said.
“But they’re getting better. The first half was awesome. It’s a five-point game, and it’s actually kind of closer than that. We just didn’t show up in the third quarter. We tried to go into a little zone and see if we could match up with them a little bit. But we became stagnant. They were able to capitalize and we were sloppy on offense.”
The Lady Tigers were led by senior guard Charmin Moore with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Donique Channer pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with three points.
Bowdon endured some foul trouble with seniors Jacole Stephens and Sydney Boddie, as Stephens finished with seven points and seven rebounds, while Boddie scored all eight of her points in the first half.
The Red Devilettes got a big lift from junior Reshay Brewer and sophomore Allie Phillips in the post, as Brewer posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Phillips scored six points and pulled down nine boards off the bench.
“Our post played well [Friday]. Every post we went to played well,” Remonica Stephens said. “That was a big difference. Because Jacole got in foul trouble, Sydney got in foul trouble. The girls on the bench stepped up and played. This is Allie’s first year back. She tore her ACL the first game of last year as a freshman. So I call her a redshirt freshman. And really, she’s doing a good job.”