Late rally lifts Falcons

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tommy Gingpho goes up for the game-winning bucket.

Tommy Gingpho goes up for the game-winning bucket.

The Fleeta Falcons’ eighth grade boys basketball team knocked off Straughn Middle School 39-35 Monday night in Pleasant Home in the opening round of the Covington County Junior High basketball tournament.

Fleeta came roaring out of the gate in the opening period and quickly mounted a 7-0 lead with a 3-pointer from Trevor Brooks and two points each from Tommy Gingpho and Skyler Wixie.

Jeb Thomasson got the Tigers on the board with a 3-pointer and followed with a second 3-pointer to cut the Falcons’ lead to 7-6.

Gabe Dunn then gave the Tigers an 8-7 lead with a layup.

Straughn continued to rally in the closing minutes of the first period and four more points from Dunn put the Tigers up 14-7 heading into the second period.

Thomasson got the scoring started for the Tigers in the second period with a layup to go on top 16-7.

After a layup from Brooks, Gingpho went on a 5-point scoring spree including a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line to cut deep into Straughn’s lead.

Another free throw from Gingpho and one from Brooks trimmed the deficit to 18-16 heading into halftime.

Straughn opened up the scoring the third period with a 3-pointer from Jeremiah Adkison to take a 21-16 lead.

Fleeta responded with a quick bucket and then Brooks buried a 3-pointer to tie the game up at 21-21 with 3:46 left in the third period.

Connor McDaniel and John Dewrell tacked on seven points to put Straughn back on top 28-21.

Just as time was winding down in the third period, Brooks took the ball at the top of the key and pumped faked right before leaning back to his left and drilling a 3-point basket at the buzzer to leave the Falcons trailing 28-24 heading into the final period.

A quick bucket from Adkison got the fourth period started and put the Tigers up 30-24.

Brooks dropped in a basket on the ensuing Falcons’ possession to inch them back closer.

Travis Floyd then came up in a big spot for the Falcons as he stepped in front of Tiger pass and then sprinted the other end of the court for an easy layup.

Floyd stayed busy for the Falcons and came up with an offensive rebound and a put back on their next possession to tie the contest up 30-30 with 1:30 left in the game.

Fleeta then took the lead when Wixie got a steal and then scored on the fast-break.

Straughn was quick to tie the game back up when Dewrell dropped in a turnaround jumper to make the score 32-32 with 55 seconds left on the clock.

Gingpho then put the Falcons back on top with a strong drive through the lane finished off with a layup.

Gingpho continued his strong efforts with another basket to give Fleeta a 37-32 lead with 10 seconds left on the clock.

Straughn wasn’t ready to give up and a 3-pointer from McDaniel with two seconds left on the clock made the score 37-35.

Gingpho was fouled on the inbound play and proceed to knock down both free throws to give the Falcons a 39-35 victory.

Brooks and Gingpho led the way for the Falcons with 14 points each.

Dewrell, McDaniel and Thomasson led the Tigers with 6 points each.

“We played great in the fourth period,” Fleeta head coach Scott Gafford said. “We didn’t start off the game playing well, or not playing smart I should say, but we did what we needed to do there at the end to get the win. This team (Straughn) has come a long way and we were lucky to get a win on them.”

Fleeta now advances to the semi-finals to take on Red Level on Wednesday at 3 p.m., in Pleasant Home.