By Thomas Sellers Jr.
A lot was left to be decided for Division II-A West Regional basketball coming into the last week of the regular season.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels had a simple objective, keep winning to snatch the No. 3 seed to avoid West Regional favorites FACS and Lausanne as long as possible.
The first challenge would be a visit from the Sacred Heart Knights out of Jackson. TRA had to survive a sluggish first half only leading 15-13 to prevail 49-38.
“This was an important win for us,” TRA Head Coach Cedric Anderson said. “We’ve talked about it all last week. Before we got to this game we had to pinpoint this game as an important game. We had to get here first by taking care of our business. Then when we got here we had to make plays.”
The quintet of 12th graders Seth Cannon, Antonio Garrett, Isaiah Hatley, Jay Heigel and Ethan Petrowski got the start on Senior Night. Anderson would rotate about seven more Rebels in the lineup throughout the night to outlast Sacred Heart.
The Knights jumped ahead 10-5 after 8 minutes of action. In the second quarter the Rebels got rolling courtesy of an Alex Anderson three-point play to tie the game at 10-10.
Then a moment foreshadowing more to come later happened when Myles McClinton drained a triple to give TRA a 13-10 advantage. The Rebels led by a bucket at the break.
The Rebels came out of the locker room on a 9-3 run. More accurately McClinton outscored the Knights 9-3 hitting three triples in the opening moments of the second half.
McClinton’s third three-pointer made the tally 24-16. Sacred Heart responded by outscoring the Rebels 14-8 the rest of the third quarter to only trail 32-30.
It was the play of junior standout Alex Anderson that carried the Rebels to victory in the fourth quarter. Anderson scored 5 points and hit teammate Jalen Hurt on a pair of passes deep in the paint for layups.
The 49-38 decision kept TRA in contention for that No. 3 seed heading into the postseason.
“It’s going to be important for us as coaches to make sure their minds are stable,” Coach Anderson said. “And that they get into the mindset of being fundamentally sounded. You can’t afford to take pays off. We can’t afford those miscues like we had tonight when you’re throwing the ball away.
“It’s unforced turnovers,” he concluded. “You have to make sure you’re fundamentally sound hips low, proper posture and proper position at all times.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.