Straughn tops Red Level in hard-fought battle

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Straughn Tigers held off the Red Level Tigers in varsity boys’ basketball action for a 41-30 victory Tuesday night in Red Level.

Straughn’s Keaun Samuel knocked the tipoff to Justin Peeples, who then dished the ball to Samuel in the lane for a layup and early 2-0 Straughn lead.

Red Level answered right back when Kade Green buried a long 2-pointer to tie the game.

On the other end of the court, Red Level’s Ontaryo Nearor came up with a big block on a Straughn shot attempt, but the home Tigers were unable to convert it into points.

Hank Peeples picked off an errant Red Level pass and dropped the ball in for a layup to put Straughn back on top.

Straughn’s Taylor Rhudy then got a steal and converted the turnover into points with a fastbreak-layup.

Red Level trimmed the lead down to one when Cale Mancill hit one free throw and Nearor knocked down a pair from the charity stripe.

Straughn added to the lead on their next trip down the court when Samuel made a layup on a strong drive to the basket. Samuel was fouled on the shot and converted the old-fashioned 3-point play by sinking his free throw.

H. Peeples then hit a pair of free throws to put Straughn up 11-5 with first quarter coming to an end.

Nearor dropped in a layup at the end of the period, but Straughn was on top 11-7 heading into the second period.

To start the second period, H. Peeples hit 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to 12-7.

Red Level’s Joel Phillips then buried a long 2-pointer to cut the lead to 12-9.

H. Peeples responded with a 3-pointer on the other end of the court to, and moments later a jumper from J. Peeples had Straughn out front 17-9.

Matt Worley then extended the Straughn lead to double-digits with a strong basket after pulling down an offensive board.

Nearor ended the Straughn scoring streak with a 1-for-2 trip at the free throw line.

Straughn’s Brantley Kelley added his first points of the night when he hit both ends of his one-and-one opportunity.

A free throw from Rhudy then put Straughn up 22-10 with just over a minute left before halftime.

Nearor made a strong move in the paint and buried a turnaround jumper to cut the Straughn lead back down to 10 points.

Kelley pushed the Straughn lead back up to 12 with a layup through traffic. Kelley drew a foul on the shoot, but was unable to convert the free throw.

Just as the clock was about to strike zero on the first half, Red Level’s Chance Russell dropped in a layup.

At halftime, Straughn was on top 24-14.

Red Level got a free throw from Russell to start the third period.

Russell then came up with a steal and converted the turnover into points with a layup.

Jacob Catrett then tickled the twine from downtown to cut Straughn’s lead down to 24-20.

Red Level continued to battle back into the contest when Phillips connected with a deep 2-pointer to make the score 24-22 with 3:25 left in third period.

Straughn finally was able to get a bucket late in third period when H. Peeples knocked down a 8-foot jumper.

J. Peeples ended the third period with a 3-pointer to put Straughn on top 29-22 heading into the final period.

Nearor got the final period started by drawing a foul while knocking down a goal under the basket.

Nearor converted the and-one opportunity and Red Level trailed 29-25 with 7:13 remaining in the game.

Samuel followed with a strong bucket off of an assist from Kelley to put Straughn on top 31-25.

Another basket from Samuel then extended Straughn’s lead to 33-25.

Straughn continued the offensive flurry with a 3-pointer from H. Peeples.

Kelley followed with a 3-pointer of his own to push Straughn to a 39-25 lead.

Nearor got a layup to cut the lead down to 12, but Straughn wasn’t going to let the home team back into the game in the closing minutes.

Straughn’s final points of the game came on fastbreak from Rhudy who spun in the lane and dropped in fancy layup to put Straughn up 41-27,

Green hit a 3-pointer as the final period came to end for the final points of the game.

Nearor led Red Level with 12 points.

“Early on we just had too many turnovers,” Red Level head coach Allen Catrett said. “We just tried to force the issue too much early, but I did feel like our defense did a good job. We are getting better, but we still have a lot of improvements to make between now and February.”

H. Peeples led Straughn with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“I think the key tonight was perseverance,” Straughn head coach Bradley Stephens said. “We have to work on moving the ball and passing better, and taking better shoots. I did like that when we weren’t hitting our outside shots that we moved the ball inside. That was a positive.”