By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Maybe during the bus ride to the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Gymnasium, the players of the Fayette Academy Vikings were thinking “50-37.”
That was the final of the previous match up Jan. 3 that took place in Somerville going in the favor of the Rebels. Fast forward to Jan. 28, the Vikings traveled with a full student section, rowdy parents and a game plan to avenge that loss.
Fayette Academy brought the energy and intensity leading to a 26-26 deadlock at the break. The Vikings held the lead including a an 18-6 advantage most of the first half.
TRA’s response to the energy level of the Vikings continued to surge upward eventually leading to a 63-60 win for the Rebels.
“You have to stay focus and execute and have discipline throughout every phase of the game,” TRA Head Coach Cedric Anderson said. “You can’t wait until a team gets up on you. They came out to play. They did a great job. At this point of the season everybody is getting better. You have to execute.”
In the first half Vikings Luke Moore and Ryan Parks were executing as an inside/outside combo. Moore made layups and cleaned up missed shots in the paint. Meanwhile Parks hit jumpers and threes to help Fayette Academy jump ahead by 12 points in the first quarter.
The Vikings were ahead 18-8 entering the second quarter. TRA outscored Fayette Academy 18-8 in the next 8 minutes sparked by Alex Anderson and Cameron Donegan. Also chipping in for the Rebels during that stretch was Isaiah Hatley. Hatley drove to the rim with shake and bake moves for three buckets.
To break the tie, the Rebels won the third quarter 19-11. Donegan gave TRA the lead 31-29 by hitting a three-pointer. Parks gave Fayette Academy the lead back when he hit a free throw at 32-31.
Then the Rebels proceeded with a 14-4 run starting with a Anderson bucket. Then the junior forward stepped out an drained a triple to make the score 36-32.
The next TRA players to score during the run were Ethan Stewart and Anderson. Anderson hit a couple of shots and made four foul shots to make the score 45-36.
The tally was 45-37 entering the fourth quarter.
The final period was full of fireworks. The quarter featured a technical foul on the Fayette Academy bench, an intentional foul and Stewart one-hand slam that made the score 60-48 in favor of the Rebels.
TRA finally took a double-digit lead early in the fourth at 51-41 courtesy of a Donegan basket. Coach Anderson said the maturity of the young point guard is coming just in time for the West Region stretch run.
“He showed what he is capable of doing ever since he was in middle school,” he said. “He’s a one of the top middle school point guards in the Memphis area. He had to get acclimated to our environment. He probably took this level of basketball lightly. He now knows he has to bring it every night. Not just in games, but everyday in practice.”
The work of Donegan and his teammates to build the sizable lead came in handy in the final minutes. The Vikings outscored TRA 12-3 until the final buzzer with Fayette Academy guard Will Cagle hitting a triple. But the Rebels had enough to win the game by 3 points.
TRA’s win helped them stay firm in the No. 4 spot in the standings behind league rivals Sacred Heart, ECS and FACS.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.