Thorsby boys play big, win area title

Published 5:24 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

The Thorsby Rebels put a cap on a flawless season in area play with a 72-60 victory against Billingsley in the Area 9-2A championship on Feb. 9.

Playing from out in front is something the Rebels have become accustomed to this season, especially against its area opponents.

The area title game followed a similar script, as Thorsby was able to bounce back from a somewhat slow start to lead 19-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Once the Rebels establish a rhythm they can be hard to stop, as was the case in the championship.

Thorsby extended its lead to 16 points at halftime and 24 points at the end of the third quarter.

The success was fueled by the play of Thorsby’s big men, who had their way on the boards.

Sawyer Sellers led the team with 12 rebounds in his return, after missing a game due to illness, while Cole Farris and Christian Fortner grabbed nine and eight rebounds respectively.

“We’re pretty long and athletic,” Thorsby head coach Tim Fortner said. “When we make our mind up to get in and rebound, we can do that. Most teams can’t rebound with us.”

Farris scored 16 points, a large portion of which came from put backs following a rebound at the offensive end.

“Second chance opportunities help a lot,” Thorsby junior Christian Fortner said. “Anytime you can keep a possession alive.”

However, Billingsley fought back with the title on the line and made a late run, outscoring Thorsby 20-8 in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers and passes that were just a tick off line were something that Thorsby battled throughout the game, but especially in the final quarter.

“Physically we gave good effort, but it was mental mistakes and the little things,” Tim Fortner said. “It was like we were in a fog mentally all night long.”

The scoring duo of Fortner and Cain Niece combined for 37 points, and Tucker Patterson added eight points in the game.

Billingsley had three players score in double figures, including Raymond Cutler with 19 points, Ty Rawlinson with 12 points and Brisen Tatum with 10 points.

The turnovers are something Thorsby will look to clean up in time for its sub-regional matchup with Area 7-2A runner-up Keith at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13.

“It feels good to get the win and not have to travel so far,” Christian Fortner said. “It’s always an advantage to host.”