By Thomas Sellers Jr.
COLLIERVILLE — The St. George’s Gryphons vs. Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels rivalry spreads years in various sports.
But the epicenter of the schools’ competition appears to boys’ basketball. Since 2008 the institutions have traded turns eliminating the other. The latest chapter in the story rivalry came Feb. 12 on the campus of St. George’s when the Rebels made the trip from Millington for the First Round Division II-A contest.
Once again the winner would advance and the loser would see the 2017-18 season come to an end. TRA came ready to survive and advance jumping out to a 6-point advantage after the first quarter. St. George’s responded grabbing a 40-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With their backs against the wall, the Rebels went to senior leader Carter Weakley to spark a comeback. Weakley drained back-to-back threes leading TRA on a 19-0 run to grab the lead for good, winning 56-49.
“We came out for the game in hostile territory,” Weakley said. “We just really wanted to get this win. Now we have to play FACS tomorrow. They’re a tough match. We played them twice this season and lost both of them. First one was a nail-bitter and the second one didn’t exactly go our way.”
TRA earned the Second Round match up with the Crusaders surviving a seesaw battle with St. George’s. Weakley was the focal point of the Rebels’ first quarter offense scoring 12 points with a pair of three-pointers. When Weakley drove to the rim and made a layup, TRA went ahead 16-9.
“My teammates were feeding me the ball,” he said. “They were doing what they were supposed to do like boxing out and rebounding the ball. If we just had done better from the free throw line, this wouldn’t have been as close of a game. Free throws were rough, every other aspect of the game was great.”
The Gryphons had some great moments overcoming a 18-12 deficit entering the second quarter. St. George’s rallied started second period when Conner Richardson scored on a three-point play to make the tally 18-15.
After TRA forward Alex Anderson made the score 20-15 on a put-back bucket, the Gryphons proceeded with a 7-3 run to close out the first half. St. George’s got points from Hagan Imorde, Harrison Mullaney and Richardson to make the halftime score 23-22 in favor of TRA.
St. George’s outscored the Rebels 18-8 in the third quarter to take a 40-31 advantage heading into the fourth.
Imorde had the hot hand in the third quarter with three treys and a drive to the basket for two points. Will Johns added a triple of his own during the span. When Imorde hit his third three-pointer of the quarter, St. George’s lead was 38-29.
St. George’s 40-31 advantage started to disappear early in the fourth quarter when Weakley drained two three-pointers making the score 40-37.
TRA made the deficit a point when Alex Anderson hit a floater in the lane. His older brother Andrew regained the lead for TRA when he drove to the rim for a bucket.
The Rebel run continued courtesy of baskets from Tysen Banks and the Anderson brothers. TRA was ahead 50-40.
St. George’s outscoring TRA 9-6 down the stretch wasn’t enough to overcome elimination. The Rebels survived and now have to make some adjustments to battle No. 1 seeded FACS.
“We’ve got to know our assignments out there on the court,” Weakley said. “Defense, defense, defense along with making free throws and rebounding. That’s what wins championships and I feel we can get it done.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.