Rebels open county tournament with win

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Thorsby Rebels boys basketball team opened up the 2018 Chilton County Basketball Tournament on the right note with a 58-43 victory over Isabella on Jan. 2.

Sawyer Sellers was a beast on the boards during the game and finished with a whopping double-double with 13 points and 21 rebounds.

“He’s young and has the potential to be really good,” Thorsby head coach Tim Fortner said. “We need him to play big for us every night.”

It seemed on nearly trip down the court, Sellers had an impact above the rim both on offense and defense.

“We’ve had to step up our game rebounding by focusing more on blocking out instead of out jumping everybody,” Thorsby junior Christian Fortner said.

The majority of Sellers’ points came as a result of offensive rebounds or on the receiving end of brilliant feeds from Christian Fortner.

Fortner’s versatility was on display during the game and he had team-highs in multiple categories. He finished with 19 points, seven assists, five blocks and five steals.

The Rebels scored the first seven points of the game and appeared to be on their way to a route.

Thorsby freshman Sawyer Sellers grabs one of his 21 rebounds against Isabella in the first round of the 2018 Chilton County Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

However, the game settled in and Isabella showed resiliency and fought back to only trail by two points, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter.

Isaac Martin was a big part of the Mustangs finding their way back into the game with a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter from both the left and right corners.

Martin finished with four baskets from beyond the arc in the game.

“If they have something positive happen for them early on, they play better,” Fortner said. “A lot of times if young teams start out bad, they kind of hang their heads.”

Thorsby was able to open its lead back up in the second quarter, as Fortner and senior Cain Niece began to attack the rim on the offensive end of the court.

Often times the two were rewarded with points for their aggressive nature and the Rebels built a 33-24 halftime lead.

Niece tallied 15 points, most of which came from dribble drives, as Thorsby maintained and eventually extended its lead in the second half.

“I thought we did pretty well moving the ball, but we missed some easy shots when we got some opportunities on layups,” Fortner said. “They were very unselfish.”

With the win, Thorsby advances to play Chilton County High School in the semifinals on Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m.