Transition game, defense key to THS victory

Published 10:52 am Saturday, December 16, 2017

For the second time this season, the Thorsby Rebels defeated B.B. Comer and this time did so on the road.

The Rebels won 60-45 behind a stellar performance from Christian Fortner who finished with a double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds and hovered ever so closely to a possible quadruple-double with eight assists and eight blocks on the night.

In a close game early in the second quarter, Fortner began to come alive with a one-handed dunk and a pair of three-pointers that gave Thorsby a 37-27 halftime lead.

B.B. Comer was playing catch up for much of the second half, and the Rebels methodically continued extending the lead to the point of no return in the fourth quarter.

Chase Merrell and Cain Niece are the seniors on the team this season and both contributed to the game in various ways.

“We tend to lean on our older players a little bit more on the road than we do at home,” Thorsby head coach Tim Fortner said.

Niece was Thorsby’s second leading scorer with 11 points, the majority of which were the results of finishing around the rim in transition thanks to four steals.

“We just tried to get out and run, because that’s what we’re good at,” Niece said. “I look to penetrate first and let the threes come. I just try to break down the defense and find somebody open.”

Merrell did a little bit of everything and filled the stat sheet with four points, four rebounds and four steals.

One of the biggest differences for Thorsby in 2017 is the absence of Bailey Sellers, which gave the Rebels a veteran presence in the post.

However, freshman Sawyer Sellers and sophomore Tucker Patterson continue to show signs of a bright future.

“They’re athletic and long, but they just don’t have the experience,” Fortner said. “It’s about understanding the game and how you want to play.”

The two combined for 13 points and 11 rebounds against B.B. Comer and created second chance opportunities on the offensive end.

Defense is something that teams can usually rely on especially when traveling for road games. That was definitely the case against B.B. Comer.

“Your shot’s not always going to be there, but defense will be,” Niece said.