Red Level ousts Flomaton, 70-64

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Despite squandering a 22-point lead, the Red Level Tigers managed to hang on for a key area win Tuesday evening at home, defeating Flomaton 70-64.

With 3:41 left in the second quarter, Red Level’s Cale Nolen hit a 3-pointer that gave the Tigers a 39-17 lead. That lead was gone by the third quarter, when Flomaton’s Dominique Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 3:25 left in the third to give the Hurricanes a 45-42 lead.

Fourteen seconds later, after the Tigers cut Flomaton’s lead to one point, Red Level coach Fred Kelley called a timeout to rally his team.

“I just told them there was still plenty of time left,” said Kelley of what he told his team during that timeout. “I said, ‘Let’s go back to what we were doing in the first half.’ I think from that point on, the team refocused.”

Kelley’s advice to his team worked, as the Tigers went on a run and moved back in front 54-48 by the end of the third quarter. Flomaton cut Red Level’s lead down to five points with 54 seconds left in the game, but could get no closer.

“This was a huge win for us coming off a long road trip to Mobile,” Kelley said. “Our guys really stepped up in the fourth quarter. We knew that Flomaton had a good team and they would make a run at some point.

“Coach Valrie has done a really good job of making us a more balanced team on offense; we didn’t rely on perimeter shooting tonight as much as we have in the past.”

The win improved Red Level’s area record to 3-0, while Flomaton fell to 2-1 in Class 2A, Area 1.

“We’ve got two of our last three area games at home and we need to take care of business at home,” Kelley said. “Our goal is to host the area tournament here at home.”

D.J. Sankey led Red Level (15-6, 3-0) with 28 points and added nine rebounds and seven assists. Cale Nolen scored 26 for the Tigers.

A.J. Odom had 19 points to lead Flomaton (12-9, 2-1).

Red Level will face Excel at home Friday night. The Tigers defeated Excel on the road 80-70 in their area opener back on Jan. 6.