Billingsley wins ‘hard fought game’

Published 5:42 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Billingsley boys basketball clinched a spot in the state playoffs with a 49-44 victory over Verbena in the semifinals of the Area 9-2A tournament on Feb. 6.

“It was a battle and just a really hard fought game,” Billingsley head coach Marvin Morton said. “Verbena came to play, and those guys hustled hard.”

The game remained in doubt heading into the last couple of minutes, as the Red Devils trailed 45-44 following a Billingsley turnover and a layup by Verbena’s Dawson Rouhrbough.

However, Ty Rawlinson extended the Billingsley lead with a post move that rattled home.

Verbena came up empty on a pair of trips down the court with less than a minute to play, including a possession that started with 18 seconds left in the game and a three-point deficit.

Rawlinson made his presence felt down low and came through with big shots down the stretch, as he scored all of his 15 points in the second half.

Ty Rawlinson of Billingsley scored all 15 of his points in the second half of the area semifinal against Verbena on Feb. 6. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Special)

“I’m very proud of Ty Rawlinson,” Morton said. “This was really his first game where it felt like he played with a lot of confidence, and it came at the perfect time.”

Billingsley opened up an 11-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Red Devils were quick to come back and actually grabbed a 20-18 lead at halftime.

Fueling the Verbena turnaround was the relentless effort at both ends of the court by Rouhrbough and Xavier Dejarnett.

Rouhrbough finished with a team-high 21 points and Dejarnett had 12 points in the game.

Raymond Cutler led the Bears with 17 points, while Ladarius Starks dropped in 11 points that included a trio of three-pointers.

“I told our guys not to get too high or too low, but to just keep battling,” Morton said. “It showed tonight.”

Billingsley will play Thorsby in the area title game at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9.