Straughn falls in first game to Red Level Friday night 68-61

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Red Level Tigers had three players score in double digits Friday night as they knocked off the Straughn Tigers, 68-61, in Red Level.

Cale Nolen led Red Level with 21 points, followed by Luke Sharp with 12 and D.J. Sankey with 12. C.J. Christopher led Straughn with 21 points.

Red Level (2-0) led the entire way and led by as many as 12 points, fending off several comeback attempts by Straughn (0-1). In the third quarter, Red Level held a 34-23 lead early but Straughn responded with an 11-0 run to cut that lead to one point.

“We had a bit of a scare there in the third quarter,” Red Level coach Fred Kelley said. “We called timeout after their big run and just tried to settle things down. Thankfully, we had some great senior leadership and were able to calm down a little and hit some big shots to get our momentum back.”

Straughn made another strong run in the fourth quarter, when Chris Huggins hit a lay up with 6:32 left to cut Red Level’s lead to 48-46. But Red Level followed with four straight points and Straughn never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

“We’re still trying to find our identity,” said Straughn coach Todd Reynolds, whose team made it to the regional final last season. “We’ve got a lot of new personnel and we’ve got to settle down and get some things figured out.”

One key advantage for Red Level was rebounding, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Time after time, Red Level was able to get second- and third-chance opportunities to score easy lay ups and short jump shots.

“We did a good job of making Red Level take the initial shot we wanted them to take,” Reynolds said. “But we didn’t do a good job of boxing out and gave up way too many offensive rebounds. They made us pay.”

Sankey finished the night with a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds to go with his 12 points. He also picked up six steals and four assists. Matthew Bond added 11 rebounds for Red Level.

In earlier action, Straughn’s girls defeated Red Level 78-22. Kimberly Teel scored 20 points to lead Straughn and Tessa Huckaba and Tiffany Taylor added 10 each. Starla Jones and Kiaira Coleman each scored seven points for Red Level.

In the B-team game, Red Level won, 39-35.