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After falling to Foard in a nail-biter on the road a few weeks ago, the St. Stephens boys basketball team eliminated the suspense the second time around.
The Indians (14-9) made 10 three-pointers in Mondayâ€™s NWC first round tournament game against the Tigers, including four each by Dillion Spencer and Logan Starkey, lifting them to a 61-48 victory.
St. Stephens coach Murphy Post said it was the second straight game his team found its stroke.
â€śWe had a lot of confidence from behind the arc built up from last Friday night against Watauga,â€ť Post said. â€śWe hit 12 three-pointers in that game. We were hot, and it carried over.â€ť
The Indians shot their way to a 38-25 lead at halftime behind eight of their 10 threes in the game.
Logan Starkey scored 11 of St. Stephensâ€™ points in the half, including a trio of three-pointers.
Trailing by double digits for most of the second half, the Tigers (13-10) didnâ€™t give up.
Like their comeback Feb. 3 on â€śSenior Nightâ€ť against St. Stephens, Foard cut its second-half deficit in the fourth quarter, aiming for a repeat of its memorable performance at home.
The Tigers outrebounded the Indians in the final quarter, 17-8, including 13 offensive rebounds.
â€śOur kids donâ€™t quit,â€ť said Foard coach Rob Bliss. â€śFor the most part, weâ€™ve played hard all year with the exception of three-four halves. We play hard and aggressively. Sometimes teams with big leads tend to relax a little bit. We were able to catch them for a while.â€ť
Post said Foardâ€™s effort Monday resembled the Tigersâ€™ effort Feb. 3.
â€śFoard plays so hard. They donâ€™t quit,â€ť he said. â€śEven in the fourth quarter, they cut that lead down. They are a good team and made a run.â€ť
Closing out strong at the â€ścharity stripe,â€ť the Indians made their free throws count, sinking 9-of-11 free chances in the final stanza to hold on and advance.
Bliss said the Tigersâ€™ lack of proficiency cost them in the end.
â€śOur lack of execution got in the way,â€ť he said. â€śThatâ€™s something weâ€™ve struggled with all year. What did us in was our first half defensive effort.â€ť
Moving forward to Wednesdayâ€™s second round against Alexander Central, Post said his team has some improvements to make.
â€śRebounding is definitely a concern,â€ť Post said. â€śBrandon Kirk killed us on the board. Thatâ€™s a mentality thing that we are constantly trying to improve on. Obviously, we still have a ways to go.â€ťView more articles in: