Balanced scoring leads Thorsby boys over Jemison

Published 2:43 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The offense was clicking on all cylinders for Thorsby’s varsity boys basketball team en route to a comfortable 69-50 victory at home against rival Jemison.

Ball movement was key to the Rebels’ success, as four Thorsby players finished the game, scoring in double figures.

Senior Cain Niece and junior Christian Fortner led the team with 15 points apiece, while Cole Farris added 14 off the bench and Sawyer Sellers dropped in 11.

“We feel like we’re playing better as a team,” Niece said. “We had a bunch of new guys come up this year, and the first half [of season] was just seeing what we could do. Now we know who can make what shots, and we have a better feel of each other.”

Farris’ production helped the Rebels open up the lead in both the second and fourth quarters. He was one of several Thorsby players with a hot hand shooting on the night.

“We had a good team effort tonight, and I thought everyone made a conscience to get involved in the game early on,” Thorsby head coach Tim Fortner said. “We had different kids stepping up and making really good decisions.”

According to Fortner, Thorsby was able to penetrate the Jemison zone defense and kick the ball out to open teammates along the perimeter.

As a result, the Rebels had some good looks at beyond the arc and were able to capitalize throughout the night from three-point range.

Thorsby knocked down five three-pointers in the first half, from five different players, and led 35-19 at halftime.

“They were stepping into their shot with confidence,” Fortner said.

One of the bright sides for Jemison was the defense around the rim played by senior Ryan Thompson, who finished with a handful of blocks in the game, including a stretch where he swatted away three consecutive Thorsby shots on one possession.

According to Fortner, it was important that the Rebels were able to remain aggressive and continued to attack the rim even with Thompson’s size on the court.

Ty Leachman had a game-high 17 points for the Panthers.

Christian Fortner and Sellers both earned double-doubles for Thorsby with 12 and 10 rebounds respectively to go with their scoring output.

For Niece and fellow senior Chase Merrell, it was the last time in their career, that they played against Jemison in basketball, and they were able to win it.

“It feels good,” Niece said. “You strive for moments like this.”

Both teams have one game left before the area tournaments get under way. Thorsby hosts LAMP High School on Feb. 1, and Jemison finishes up on the road against Chilton County on Feb. 2.