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STRAUGHN GETS CRUCIAL AREA WIN

BY ZACK MAIO

The first week of the all-important area schedule has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Area competition took place for the first time at home this season tonight against Slocomb.  Straughn fought tooth and nail in all three games as the script could not have been written any better.  The Tigers outdueled the Red Tops to the tune of a sweep and picked up some crucial area wins in the process.  The B-team (8-5) overcame a slim halftime deficit and started the night with a 37-28 win.  The varsity girls (14-3, 2-0 3A Area 3) battled hard and edged out a 43-38 win.  The varsity boys (4-14, 1-1) rebounded from a tough loss three nights ago with a satisfying 56-41 win.

B-TEAM

The Tigers pulled away in the second half and took the opener by nine.  Following an opposing basket, Micah Turner cut the deficit in half and then knocked down a jumper for a 3-2 lead.  Riley Brooks then pushed the margin out to 6-2 with a blistering three.  The Red Tops answered with one of their own but trailed 6-5 with six minutes complete.  That momentum carried over to the second as the visitors built a 12-8 advantage.  Logan Arnett pulled Straughn within two off a put back as Brooks made a free throw to make the score 12-11.  Slocomb clung to a 14-13 lead halfway through.

The defense took its turn in the spotlight with a strong performance in the third.  The offense also fared well with 10 points while holding their counterparts to only four.  Jared Hawkins scored on a fast break for a 15-14 lead only to see the visitors grab the lead back.    That was the final time Slocomb would see itself in front.  Turner delivered a nifty move to the hoop, and Hawkins dialed up a three for a 20-16 cushion.  Turner then went two-of-two from the line before Brooks went up and off the glass after a steal.  That propelled Straughn to a 24-17 lead after three.  Parker Kennedy executed a drive to the basket to push the score to 26-20.  Slocomb kept fighting and closed the gap to three.  Hawkins remained hot from downtown with a pair of threes.  Turner stroked three more free throws to pad the advantage to nine at 35-26.  After the Red Tops scored their final two in the form of free throws, Brooks closed it out with a no-look drive for two.

FINAL POINTS

Riley Brooks – 12

Jared Hawkins – 11

Micah Turner – 10

Logan Arnett – 2

Parker Kennedy – 2

VARSITY GIRLS

In a foul-plagued game, Straughn earned a hard-fought five-point win.  Both teams combined for a whopping 46 fouls as each squad had 23.  Allie Kelley scored first off a put back before a visiting three.  Ansley Montgomery went for the money ball early, and Kelsey Kelley expanded the lead to 7-3 with a drive to the hoop.  Abbi Hataway got a friendly roll to make the score 9-5 before Slocomb used an 8-1 stretch to take control.  Hataway brought it back to two while Mallory Qualls sank a jumper for a 13-13 tie after one.  Anna Spears shined with a crafty move to start the second and made it 15-13.  The Lady Red Tops would not be denied and used four free throws to reclaim the lead.  Tori and Linsey Hicks went back-to-back with jumpers as the two sides traded hands once more.  Spears evened the score at 20-20 with a foul shot, but the Lady Tigers found themselves behind 22-20 at the half.

The third literally went back and forth as neither side led by more than two.  Montgomery tied it at 22-22, and A. Kelley followed suit for a 24-24 stalemate.  Montgomery used a fast break to give her side a 26-24 lead.  Qualls took it 28-27 with a jumper, but the visitors held serve and took a 30-28 advantage to the fourth.  The hosts went on a 6-0 run to begin the final eight minutes thanks to Montgomery, L. Hicks, and Hannah Albright.  Slocomb was able to slice the hole down to one at 35-34 but could not draw closer.  Montgomery went on a tear with three straight successful possessions.  A dazzling move, shot for two among heavy traffic, and a layup gave Straughn a 41-34 lead.  A late three and free throw was not enough by the visitors as the hosts breathed a huge sigh of relief and made it two-for-two on the night.

FINAL POINTS

Ansley Montgomery – 16

Linsey Hicks – 5

Allie Kelley – 4

Mallory Qualls – 4

Abbi Hataway – 4

Anna Spears – 3

Kelsey Kelley – 3

Tori Hicks – 2

Hannah Albright – 2

VARSITY BOYS

Straughn used a balanced performance and hot night from the line for a 15-point win and pull off the sweep.  Slocomb took an early 2-0 lead but never found itself ahead the remainder of the contest.  Abram Guilford tied it at 2-2 before Mason Turner sizzled with a three.  Turner stayed hot from beyond the arc with back-to-back threes to push the advantage out to 11-4.  Guilford had a nifty move for two, and Gabrien Dunn went up and off the glass for a 15-6 lead.  The score stood at 15-9 after one thanks to a visiting three-point play.  Demetric Toney began the second with a jumper as Ethan Hammon found the net from under the basket.  Guilford buried a three to make the score 22-10 while Turner drove to the hoop for a 24-12 lead.  The Red Tops did not back down with a half dozen to creep within single digits at 24-18.  Turner electrified for the fourth time from downtown in response to the visiting run.  Trevion Richardson closed out the first half with a duo of layups to help the Tigers to a 31-23 lead at the break.

The offenses cooled off in the third as there was only a combined 10 points.  Straughn had the upper hand with six as four came from Toney.  Richardson had the other two as action shifted to the final eight minutes with the Tigers leading 39-27.  Five straight went the way of Slocomb in the opening moments of the fourth.  Guilford then took matters into his own hands with four free throws and went nothing but net to widen the margin to 45-32.  Two more from the line along with a fast break by Richardson kept the score comfortable at 49-34.  The Red Tops were able to get it down to a dozen at 49-37 but could not draw closer.  The hosts continued their good fortune in the form of free throws while the visitors used two baskets to wrap up the game.

FINAL POINTS

Abram Guilford – 17

Mason Turner – 15

Demetric Toney – 12

Trevion Richardson – 6

Gabrien Dunn – 4

Ethan Hammon – 2

NEXT UP

All three teams remain at home next time out and welcome Geneva on Tuesday, January 14.  The B-team kicks off the area tripleheader at 4:30 as the varsity girls and boys will follow.  GHS fell at Opp in its B-team game 47-43.  The Lady Panthers downed the Lady Bobcats 56-24 before OHS held on for a 65-56 win in the varsity boys contest.  #StraughnStrong #TigerBasketball #ItsGreattobeaStraughnTiger