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FHS HOLDS ON TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIP

The Florala High School Wildcats held on in the final seconds against Paxton High School to win the Florala High School Christmas Tournament 77-74 on Saturday night.

The Wildcats started off the night with a three-pointer by Anthone Stone, but the Bobcats answered to make it 3-2.

Rashaad Coleman then scored another three-pointer to increase the Wildcat lead to 5-2.

With 5:54 left in the first period, PHS scored again to make it 5-4, then scored another layup to take the lead with 5:09 left in the first period.

Zacchaeus Reese scored a layup for the Wildcats and then got fouled and sank both free throws to make it 10-6.

With 3:28 left in the first period, PHS scored a three-pointer to regain the lead 11-10, but Reese answered twice to make it 14-11.

PHS came back with another three-pointer to tie the game up at 14-14, but Coleman answered to make it 17-14.

Cleveland Gettis rebounded a shot and put it back up to increase the lead 19-14, but PHS answered with a three-pointer to make it 18-17.

To end the first period, PHS hit another three-pointer with 25 seconds left making it 20-19.

PHS opened the second period with a three-pointer to go up 23-19.

With 6:13 left in the second period, Reese scored a layup to make it a one-point game at 24-23.

PHS increased its lead halfway through the second period to make it 29-23.

After some free throws by PHS, Coleman had a layup to make it 31-25, but PHS answered with an and-one, making it 33-25.

With 1:40 left in the half, Mehki James scored a three-pointer to cut the Bobcat lead to 40-35.

Coleman scored a three-pointer with 13 seconds left in the half, but the Bobcats were fouled and they sank both free throws to go into half time with a 43-38 lead.

PHS opened the second half with an and-one and a layup to go up 47-38, but Howard Stewart had an and-one to make it 47-40.

With 4:47 left in the third period, Coleman had another three-pointer cutting the lead to 47-40. Ja’mon Mitchell followed up with an and-one to make it a one-point game at 48-47.

PHS scored another layup and with 58 seconds left in the third period, they scored again to end the third period 52-49.

The Bobcats opened up the fourth period with a free throw, but Coleman answered with a three-pointer to cut the lead to 53-52.

With 6:20 left in the fourth period, Reese was fouled and sank both free throws, but PHS answered with a three-pointer. Florala answered, Reese was fouled and made both free throws again and made a layup to make it 61-60.

With 3:19 left in the fourth period, Coleman was fouled and tied it up 62-62.

Stone took the lead for the Wildcats and Coleman followed him up to make it 66-64.

Reese was fouled and sank both free throws and then PHS threw down a dunk to make it 68-66, but Coleman answered to make it 70-66.

PHS came back and scored but with 52 seconds left in the game, Coleman scored again to make it 72-68.

With 28 seconds left, Stone was fouled and sank a free throw to increase the lead 73-68.

PHS didn’t give up and scored an and one to make it a two-point game at 73-71.

Coleman was fouled with 13 seconds and he sank both free throws to make it 75-71, but with seven seconds left in the game, PHS scored a three-pointer.

Coleman was fouled again with six seconds left and remained focused sinking both free throws to make it 77-74.

“In the first half, we were just battling adversity,” FHS head coach Troy Turman said. “We had a lot of foul issues and missed free throws. We just kept hanging in there. We would make one, they would make one. They would make two, we would make one. They would miss one we would make two. We just said, if we could make it to the fourth quarter and maintain our composure we felt like we had a chance. I said earlier, if we could score 70 then we could win this ball game, and we did. Props to Paxton though, they are a really good basketball team. They are very well-coached and they are a basketball school. We are very proud to beat them. You are not going to find better basketball in South Alabama then this tournament right here. We appreciate both communities coming out here and supporting these teams this weekend.”

Looking forward to area play in January, Turman said this win helps his team gain confidence.

“This win helps us learn how to play in a big game,” Turman said. “Now we are going to go into a period where we will have some time off. We are going to try and get healthy, but once Christmas is over, we are going to come back and start working towards area play.”

Coleman led the Wildcats’ scoring effort with a season-high 38 points and 10 rebounds.

“To be honest, the week of practice I was being lazy at practice,” Coleman said. “I came in knowing that I had to get a championship for my coach. He has been working hard for us, so at the end of the game I knew that we had to win it for him.”

Reese had 15 points for the night and James had 10 points.

With the win, the Wildcats improve to 12-2.