Mistakes doom Thorsby in loss to Calhoun

Published 7:03 pm Friday, February 26, 2021

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By Zachary Seifter/ Staff Writer

They didn’t lose because they weren’t good enough. In the end, the Thorsby High School basketball team lost because of turnovers and poor shooting.

It was a sloppy game from the start for the Rebels, as they fell to Calhoun High School by a score of 66-47.

Early in the first quarter, Thorsby dug itself into a 9-0 hole. The team didn’t score a basket in the first three minutes of the game. They moved the ball well early, and had some open looks, but couldn’t capitalize.

Turnovers, more missed shots and a couple of missed free throws would plague the Rebels for the rest of the first quarter. There were times when the offense would start to build some momentum, but each time Thorsby couldn’t keep it going and would get in its own way.

In the meantime, Calhoun, led by the number one basketball prospect in the state, JD Davison, limited mistakes and kept capitalizing on Thorsby’s. By the time the first quarter ended, Calhoun had built an 18-7 lead.

Going into the second quarter, the mistakes continued. Turnovers started mounting up, and when the Rebels did keep possession of the ball, they had trouble sinking a shot, especially from beyond three-point range. Davison meanwhile, was heating up as he scored 11 points and added three rebounds and six assists to his first-half scoresheet. By halftime the score was 33-20 Calhoun.

Luke Davis and Xzavier Leverette were two of the few bright spots in the first half for Thorsby. Davis led the Rebels in scoring for the half, racking up eight points while adding three rebounds and an assist. Leverette had seven points and seven rebounds in the half.

Thorsby as a whole though, played a very poor half. The Rebels turned the ball over a whopping 15 times. They only made 35% of their shots in the half, and went 0-for-7 from three-point range.

Going into the second half, Thorsby had to adjust and quit turning the ball over if they were to mount a comeback. Unfortunately for them, the third quarter provided more of the same.

Calhoun started the half with a 7-0 run. Thorsby continued to miss three-point shots and added a few more turnovers. Calhoun started really putting the pressure on Thorsby in the second half. Their full-court press defense forced the Rebels into some errant passes, giving Calhoun extra possessions.

As the lead kept growing for Calhoun, the frustration in the Thorsby team did as well. The frustration was evident on the court as Thorsby had four fouls in the third quarter to Calhoun’s one. By time the third quarter ended it was 54-31 Calhoun.

In the fourth quarter, Calhoun backed off a bit with the pressure on defense. The extra space allowed Thorsby to put together some nice possessions on offense. Unfortunately, it was too late. Thorsby had dug too deep of a hole to climb out of, and as the time ticked down there was a growing sense that their amazing run was over.

“I just think it was nerves,” coach Russell Ricks said after the game. “Maybe shooting in the big arena, you know a different backdrop … we didn’t shoot the ball well at all. I mean, we usually shoot the ball way better than we did tonight.”

In the end, Thorsby made just 38% of its shots compared to a 50% success rate from Calhoun. The Rebels didn’t make a three-pointer in the first half, and ended up making just three of 17 shots from beyond the arc. However, the worst stat of all was the 22 turnovers committed by Thorsby, as that’s what truly cost them the game.

“We’re not a good ball-handling team,” Ricks said. “I mean, they were pressing us all night … We normally play better than that. At moments we played good and we can play with them. And I’m disappointed that we didn’t play better. I mean I’m happy for the kids, they had a good year but I really believe we could’ve beaten that team.”

While it came to a disappointing end, this Rebels team has a lot to be proud of. They went on an unprecedented run, reaching the Elite 8 for the first time in the school’s history. While reaching the ultimate goal of a state championship is always the wanted end result, this team should hold its head up high for its run for the ages.