Straughn defeats Red Level

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

Straughn’s Jakim Felton and Cole Armstrong helped lead the Tigers to a county rivalry win Thursday night at home over Class 2A No. 7 Red Level, 63-55.

Felton put up 11 points in the first half and nine in the second, while Armstrong put up 14 in the second and three in the first.

A happy Straughn coach Todd Reynolds said his team executed the same game plan as they did Tuesday night, but there was a difference.

“The difference was that we made shots and we made free throws,” Reynolds said. “If you do that, you can beat a ranked team. That was the difference between (Thursday) and Tuesday.”

Straughn was down 16-9 going into the second quarter and 29-18 at halftime. In the second half, Straughn (9-15, 0-6 in Class 3A, Area 3) did not give up.

“In these rivalry games, you’ve got to make a decision do you defend your turf or let someone come in and slap you around?” Reynolds said. “I have a saying and it’s turn it up a notch. And we turned it up a notch and we were all over them. That’s all she wrote.”

In the second half, the Straughn Tigers took their first lead with 4:00 left in the third to make it 33-31.

Straughn gained momentum over Red Level and jumped to a 43-35 lead going into the fourth quarter.

That lead would continue for Straughn as it would match Red Level’s points in the fourth with 20 points.

A strained-voiced Red Level coach Fred Kelley said it came down to letting Straughn make too many open shots in the second half.

“(Straughn) extended one side of us and we let them get a couple of shots on us,” Kelley said. “They had wide open looks and then we tried to sort of hit the panic button. They went out and shot great in the second half. I give the best of luck to them heading into the area tournament.”

Red Level’s Cale Nolen led his team with 20 points, followed by Luke Sharp with 14.

Kelley said, despite the loss, he thought his team played well, especially in the first half.

“I tell you what, I thought we played pretty good in the first half and I thought we were heading in the right direction,” he said. “But, coach Reynolds made some adjustments and (his team) came out and hit some big shots. That’s what you want a team to do when you come down the stretch at the end of the year getting ready for area. Straughn did a good job denying us what we wanted to do.”

Reynolds said his team has some “fight” in them still.

“These young men have not given up,” he said. “There is fight left in this dog. There is fight left and you’ve got to take your hat off to (Straughn) for that. They aren’t throwing in the towel. That was a gut tough win right there.

“Like I said, this plan was run almost as flawlessly as Tuesday night,” he said. “The difference is making free throws and bunnies (short jump shots). We seized the momentum and we took the win.”

In earlier action Thursday night, the Straughn B-team won over Red Level, 33-28.

The leading scorer for Straughn was Shun Parker with 19 points and for Red Level, it was Troy Nolen with 13.

Straughn moves to 10-8 on the year.

Straughn will travel to Florala tonight to take on the Wildcats, while Red Level will play McKenzie on the road.

Tip off is at 4:30 p.m. with the B-team.