ONE YEAR LATER: FACS earns West Regional Semi revenge against TRA

0
552
west-regionals-hatley-blocked

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

JACKSON — Although the First Assembly Christian School Crusaders have been able to secure wins over the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels throughout the 2019-20 season, Head Coach Dee Wilkes gave his boys a quick history lesson.

As the Crusaders arrived to the Division II-A West Regional Tournament site of the University School of Jackson, Wilkes told his No. 1 seed FACS squad about the time the Crusaders were defeated by the TRA Rebels in the Regional Semifinals 67-53.

The current group of Crusaders were focused on not allowing history to repeat itself Friday night. FACS made enough plays down the stretch to outlast the Rebels 60-55 and advance to the West Regional championship game.

“It was real important to get this win,” Wilkes said. “I reminded my guys tonight of last year. We had some battles last year and I reminded them they beat us in this game last year and they want to beat us bad int his game. We have to come out to match their intensity and toughness. And I think we did that.”

The Rebels’ intensity in 2019 allowed TRA to walk off the Lausanne court victorious. TRA went on to win the West Region title.

FACS had to take down the defending champions in order to set up a date with either ECS or Lausanne for the 2020 championship.

The first quarter was a seesaw battle with FACS ahead 10-9 after 8 minutes. The Crusaders created some separation in the second quarter behind the inside/outside play. FACS guard TJ Thomas hit a pair of triples that transformed a 16-15 advantage to 22-15. Thomas drained a three-pointer prior to the buzzer to give FACS a 27-18 lead at halftime.

“We had to play hard,” Thomas said. “Every time we’ve played them this year it’s been a four-quarter game. You have to play hard against them in order to win. We’ve been able to do that every time this season and came out with the win tonight.”

After a Thomas layup gave FACS a 33-20 lead in the third quarter, the Rebels seem to take that bucket as a wake-up call. TRA responded with a 17-7 run over the next 5 minutes of game time.

The Rebels trimmed the FACS advantage to 40-37 early in the fourth quarter. Rebel guard Myles McClinton hit his second three-pointer of the night to cut the deficit to 4 points. Then his teammate Cameron Donegan hit a foul shot to make the score 40-37. It was Thomas to the rescue again with a timely basket. Then a Thomas three-point play made the tally 45-39.

The Rebels made it a one possession game several times down the stretch including Isaiah Hatley free throws making the score 49-48. The Crusaders ended the game outscoring TRA 11-7 including three free throws from Thomas.

“All year they’ve been making plays,” Wilkes said. “We start four sophomores. I’ve been relying on those guys to make plays. I just put them out there and tell them to go make plays. I tell them to attack. ‘I don’t want you guys out there making mistakes being timid. I want you make those mistakes attacking.’ They were moving the ball and they trust each other out there.”

The Crusaders survived Rosemark sending the Rebels on the road for Sectionals next week. FACS earned a date for the West Regional title and a higher seed home game.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” Wilkes said. “ECS is in our league and one of the toughest opponents. They have one of the best coaches around. Of course Lausanne has been there and done that. They are the favorites and No. 1 in the State. Whoever we come up with tomorrow we have to be ready for a fight.”

Thomas, a sophomore, said the Crusaders will be ready for the challenge.

JACKSON — Although the First Assembly Christian School Crusaders have been able to secure wins over the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels throughout the 2019-20 season, Head Coach Dee Wilkes gave his boys a quick history lesson.

As the Crusaders arrived to the Division II-A West Regional Tournament site of the University School of Jackson, Wilkes told his No. 1 seed FACS squad about the time the Crusaders were defeated by the TRA Rebels in the Regional Semifinals 67-53.

The current group of Crusaders were focused on not allowing history to repeat itself Friday night. FACS made enough plays down the stretch to outlast the Rebels 60-55 and advance to the West Regional championship game.

“It was real important to get this win,” Wilkes said. “I reminded my guys tonight of last year. We had some battles last year and I reminded them they beat us in this game last year and they want to beat us bad int his game. We have to come out to match their intensity and toughness. And I think we did that.”

The Rebels’ intensity in 2019 allowed TRA to walk off the Lausanne court victorious. TRA went on to win the West Region title.

FACS had to take down the defending champions in order to set up a date with either ECS or Lausanne for the 2020 championship.

The first quarter was a seesaw battle with FACS ahead 10-9 after 8 minutes. The Crusaders created some separation in the second quarter behind the inside/outside play. FACS guard TJ Thomas hit a pair of triples that transformed a 16-15 advantage to 22-15. Thomas drained a three-pointer prior to the buzzer to give FACS a 27-18 lead at halftime.

“We had to play hard,” Thomas said. “Every time we’ve played them this year it’s been a four-quarter game. You have to play hard against them in order to win. We’ve been able to do that every time this season and came out with the win tonight.”

After a Thomas layup gave FACS a 33-20 lead in the third quarter, the Rebels seem to take that bucket as a wake-up call. TRA responded with a 17-7 run over the next 5 minutes of game time.

The Rebels trimmed the FACS advantage to 40-37 early in the fourth quarter. Rebel guard Myles McClinton hit his second three-pointer of the night to cut the deficit to 4 points. Then his teammate Cameron Donegan hit a foul shot to make the score 40-37. It was Thomas to the rescue again with a timely basket. Then a Thomas three-point play made the tally 45-39.

The Rebels made it a one possession game several times down the stretch including Isaiah Hatley free throws making the score 49-48. The Crusaders ended the game outscoring TRA 11-7 including three free throws from Thomas.

“All year they’ve been making plays,” Wilkes said. “We start four sophomores. I’ve been relying on those guys to make plays. I just put them out there and tell them to go make plays. I tell them to attack. ‘I don’t want you guys out there making mistakes being timid. I want you make those mistakes attacking.’ They were moving the ball and they trust each other out there.”

The Crusaders survived Rosemark sending the Rebels on the road for Sectionals next week. FACS earned a date for the West Regional title and a higher seed home game.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” Wilkes said. “ECS is in our league and one of the toughest opponents. They have one of the best coaches around. Of course Lausanne has been there and done that. They are the favorites and No. 1 in the State. Whoever we come up with tomorrow we have to be ready for a fight.”

Thomas, a sophomore, said the Crusaders will be ready for the challenge.

“We have to come out and win our next game,” he concluded. “It’s going to be a hard game. Both teams are very good. We can’t let them push us around. We have to play hard and stay focused. We can’t come out lackadaisical.”

“We have to come out and win our next game,” he concluded. “It’s going to be a hard game. Both teams are very good. We can’t let them push us around. We have to play hard and stay focused. We can’t come out lackadaisical.”