‘Motivated’ RLS tops SHS

Published 12:02 am Friday, December 23, 2011

Red Level's Troy Nolen had 10 points for the Tigers in his team's win over Straughn Thursday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

James Feagin’s absence didn’t go unnoticed by his Red Level teammates Thursday night.

RLS pulled together and got a motivated 58-46 victory over Straughn in the semifinals of its annual Christmas invitational tournament.

On Tuesday night, Feagin was involved in an accident, where he fell on the wooden gym court on his head and neck area. Feagin was present at the game, but with a neck brace and sitting with his team. He has torn ligaments in his neck, and had a concussion, which will sideline him for the rest of the season.

“I felt like they were very motivated due to not having him,” Marc Tracy, SHS assistant basketball coach said about the senior. “It’s one of those things. Sports is a lot about finding ways to motivate yourself.

“Whenever you have a player like James who gets hurt and all of the kids think a lot of him — I’m sure hit helped motivate them,” he said. “They seemed to have come out with a lot of fire about them.”

RLS and SHS were even at 9-9 after the first period, where the visiting Tigers held a 7-3 lead before a comeback by RLS.

The game got away from Straughn in the second period when KJ Lawrence, who led RLS with 25 points, nailed a 3-pointer to give his team a 16-12 advantage.

Troy Nolen, who had 10 points, hit a lay up on transition and a jumper to give RLS a 20-12 lead.

Straughn’s Brice Scott got a 1-and-1 and cut into Red Level’s lead at 20-14 on the next play. At the end of the first half, Scott made two free throws, and Nolen got a drive to go to put the game at 24-18, RLS lead at half time.

RLS coach Allen Catrett said Feagin was missed, but the team’s rebound numbers were a good sight to see. RLS out rebounded SHS 39-30.

“There’s nobody that’s going to take and replace James,” Catrett said. “He’s a great kid, good ball player.

“There were two things that we looked at before the ball game,” he said. “Are are we going to make excuses, or are we going to lay down?

“I think the kids responded well. Everybody is going to have to step up and push harder,” he said. “One thing we did (Thursday night) was rebound well.”

Red Level held the lead down the stretch through the third period, where Straughn had answers on each possession.

The game got to 32-27 on a pass from Scott to Avery Driver for two.

After an Avery Driver 3-pointer Straughn trailed 34-32, but RLS went on a short 4-0 run to lead 38-32 at the end of the third period.

In the fourth period, RLS held a 42-34 lead on a transition bucket by Justin Maddox, who had seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

RLS went on a 6-0 run to take a 43-37 lead.

Straughn’s JD Driver and Hobie Hughes, who had six and 14 points, respectively, fouled out at the mid-point of the fourth period.

On the inside for Straughn, Griffin Windham showed presence, making moves to the basket for some shots.

Raheem Bullock had six points for RLS.

Avery Driver had nine for Straughn. Hughes added eight rebounds, and Scott had seven rebounds.

Red Level will face Georgiana in the tournament finals tonight at 7:30. Straughn will face Brantley in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. today.