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RLS tames McKenzie

KJ Lawrence and Dee Tolbert guard Tuesday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Red Level went on a 8-0 run in the second period and gained the needed momentum to beat McKenzie 74-56 on Tuesday night in regular season action at RLHS.

RLS got off to a slow start in the first period, turning the ball over and letting MHS stay close, matching the home Tigers shot-for-shot.

RLS went on to outscore McKenzie 28-13 in the second period to take a 43-27 half time lead, and took a 59-35 lead after the third period.

When asked if there were any adjustments made between the first and second period, RLS head boys basketball coach Allen Catrett said there weren’t.

“We didn’t really make any adjustments,” Catrett said. We just had to bump it down defensively — be in the right spot.”

With a 15-14 first-of-the-game lead for RLS after the first period, MHS answered to go ahead 16-15 on a jumper from T.D. Gill.

Dee Tolbert then found Tim Sims on the inside for two points to help Red Level then take a 17-16 lead.

Gill answered with another jumper for a 18-17 lead with more than six minutes left in the second period.

KJ Lawrence, who led RLS with 24 points, hit a pair of free throws to take a 19-18 lead with 5:52.

Gill then missed his one-and-one attempt, and Tolbert took advantage on transition with a 3-pointer.

Catrett said Gill kept McKenzie in the game with his rebounds.

“That’s what kept them in the ball game — offensive rebounds,” he said. “We didn’t put a body on him (Gill) like we were supposed to. A lot of times we weren’t in the right positions.”

James Feagin hit a jumper to go up 24-19, and Troy Nolen then found Sims under the basket for an easy lay up to give RLS a 26-19 lead.

A steal by Lawrence to Sims for another two points and a 28-19 lead led to a McKenzie time out with 3:54 left in the first half.

The 8-0 run ended with a pair of free throws from Lawrence, and that was just enough for RLS to break the game wide open.

Feagin hit a put back to help RLS go up 34-21, and Tolbert stole a pass and hit Raheem Bullock for a lay up to go ahead 36-21 with 1:40 left in the half.

Lawrence made a one-and-one opportunity and RLS led 41-25 with 26.1 seconds left, and Gill answered with a jumper.

With the clock running down, Feagin got a put back to help the home Tigers take the 43-27 lead at the half.

McKenzie matched Red Level’s speed and intensity on the court, but with six players on the team, MHS couldn’t get in foul trouble.

MHS head coach Miles Brown called frequent time outs to let his team rest.

RLS came out in the second half and took a 50-29 lead at the end of a 4-0 run on a Nolen jumper.

Sir Wallace Presley made a drive to the basket for a lay up and MHS trailed 50-31 with 2:34 left in the third period.

Lawrence made the front-end of a pair of free throws, Feagin drove for an easy lay up, Lawrence made a successful drive to the basket and Tolbert got a steal and an open jumper to help RLS lead 59-35 going into the third period.

Those frequent breaks helped MHS’ players, as the visiting Tigers weren’t done in the fourth period.

RLS took a 63-44 lead mid-way in the fourth, but MHS picked up its intensity and speed to make a little game of it in the end.

MHS outscored RLS 12-11 in the final 4:17 of the game.

Sims had 12 points; Tolbert had nine points; and Bullock and Feagin had eight points each for RLS.

RLS will begin the Straughn Christmas Shoot Out Tournament tomorrow night against Georgiana at 6 p.m. at SHS.

“Our problem is that we’ve got to make sure we don’t settle for mediocrity,” Catrett said in response to whether Tuesday night’s game was a good one leading into the Straughn tournament. “We came out flat, and this is what happens whenever you don’t play up to your potential.”

In girls action, McKenzie’s Lady Tigers beat RLS 41-25. Brandi Hendrix had 13 points for RLS.

In B-team action, RLS won 33-7.