By Thomas Sellers Jr.
CORDOVA — The FACS Crusaders entered Friday night’s game against the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels on a high after receiving news they were ranked in the area’s Dandy Dozen.
The Crusaders have also been a fixture in Journal West 10 Media Power 10 Basketball rankings since January. With a quality opponent in the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels in two, FACS had a chance to prove they deserved all the praise and recognition.
Head Coach D. Wilkes’ group fought off an early TRA challenge to prevail 73-46. The Rebels sparked by junior guard Andrew Anderson kept pace with the Crusaders in the opening minutes.
Anderson scored 9 of TRA’s 11 points in the first 8 minutes of action. The Crusaders featured a balanced attack with scores from James Mathews, Johnny Williams, Joseph Thaxton and Koby Jeffries to go ahead 13-11.
The Rebels could only manage 11 points again in the second quarter. But the FACS offensive attack was better with the Crusaders scoring 18 points.
Williams got FACS rolling with a drive to the basket for a three-point play making the score 16-11. After Andrews hit a three-pointer that made the score 16-14, the Crusaders proceeded with a 9-2 run highlighted by a Jelani Willis triple.
The score was 25-20 in favor of FACS after Rebel Patrick Green scored a bucket. The Crusaders closed out the first half outscoring the Rebels 6-2 with Willis, Thaxton and Ibn Doggett scoring the points.
The FACS halftime score of 31-22 grew to 49-34 by the end of the third quarter. The Rebels did rally early in the period to make the score 40-34 after a Anderson floater in the lane and Carter Weakley triple.
FACS snapped the TRA momentum when Jeffries attacked he rim and a scored. The Crusaders tallied the final 9 points of the third.
In the fourth quarter the Crusaders used free throws to increase the spread. Then in garbage time FACS got a couple of slams courtesy of Doggett to make the final deficit 27 points.