By Clyde Travis
A Hope Academy victory over Marshall last week opened lots of eyes. The No. 24 Eagles avoided a letdown with an 81-77 victory over Carver at the MLK Dream Classic Saturday at Young.Alex Houston led the way with 36 points and 13 rebounds for Hope Academy (16-2), which established itself from the start as it raced to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter.Carver (4-13) regrouped and rallied to tie the game 46-46 at halftime, but fell behind 65-58 by the end of the third quarter.The Challengers closed the gap to 68-66 on a three-point play by Javon Jacobs with 4:42 remaining in the fourth quarter.The Eagles regained control with three consecutive Alex Houston baskets that pushed the lead to 76-68 with 2:08 remaining in the game.Carver could get no closer that four points the remainder of the game.Hope Academy coach Mike Edwards said his team needs to learn to put teams away. It was an up-and-down game, Edwards said. We would go out to a lead and make some costly mistakes to let them back in it.We have the type of team that can play up-tempo or at a slower pace. Playing this type of competition only makes us a better team.Colin Blaydes scored 14 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, and Terrence Johnson added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles.We just want to people not to underestimate us and know we can play, Johnson said.