By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Before tournament play kicks off the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels came to a crossroads.
After suffering a tough 51-50 overtime loss to the FACS Crusaders Jan. 29, the Rebels could mail in the rest of the regular season. Or Head Coach Cedric Anderson’s bunch could chase the No. 2 seed starting with a home game against the University School of Jackson Bruins Tuesday night.
Those who were able to witness the game in the TRA Gymnasium enjoyed the Runnin’ Rebels dominate the Bruins in a bounce back game 79-41.
“From an energy prospective, they didn’t get down on themselves,” Anderson noted. “They came back with the energy we hoped they would have tonight. I loved their energy.”
TRA improved to 16-3 overall scoring 24 points in the opening period. The birthday boy Tyler Byrd got the scoring started with free throws. Then his teammate Eli Ramsey drilled a three-pointer for the first TRA field goal of the night.
Then Byrd made his birthday extra special with 7 straight points. The junior standout hit a jumper and used his athleticism for a layup.
After a foul shot, Byrd almost dunked a tip-back to make the score 12-4. TRA senior leader Alex Anderson took a break from facilitating the offense to score a bucket. Then Byrd slammed down two-points to make the tally 16-4.
To close out the opening period, Byrd displayed his range by hitting a three-pointer. Then as the buzzer sounded to end the TRA first quarter onslaught, Anderson hit a three-pointer to make the score 24-12. The Rebels went into the locker room at halftime ahead 45-25. During that stretch Anderson and Byrd had back-to-back dunks.
In the third quarter a variety of Rebels contributed to building a 71-29 lead after 24 minutes of action. TRA sophomore Will Hughes score 6 points in a row early in the third quarter. Hughes drilled a three-pointer that made the tally 52-27. Other Rebels to step up with defense and offense were Ethan Stewart, Thano Sinis, Reggie Lewis, Jalen Hurt, Cameron Donegan and RJ Seals.
“It’s super important because when you get down into tournament time, you never know the situation,” Coach Anderson noted. “You don’t know how the other team is playing. You’ve got to get kids on the court. You’ve got to have a bunch of legs. It depends on how they schedule it with the pandemic, we’ve got to be ready to play multiple kids.”
Anderson said his group of Alex Anderson, Cameron Donegan, Jalen Hurt, Reggie Lewis, Myles McClinton, RJ Seals, Patrick Green and Ethan Stewart will have to take it up a level in order to obtain the dream of winning Regionals and hopefully State.
“The seniors got to lead every day,” he concluded. “That’s from the locker room, in the classroom and into the hallways. Then it has to be back on the court. They’ve got to be focused on the entire time. They’ve got to keep everybody on an even keel. They’ve got to do it themselves. They can’t just talk about it but walk about it as well.”