by Bella Millians
The Fayette County Tigers scored two victories Tuesday night in the renewal of the county’s oldest rivalry. The Lady Tigers defeated the Chiefs 41-27, and the Fayette County boys beat the Chiefs 68-59 to keep pace in a tough region race.
The meeting between the Lady Tigers and Chiefs was a hard fought win for Fayette. After a slow first quarter on both ends that saw McIntosh leading 6-5, the Chiefs kept pushing. A bucket in the paint by Madison Howard and a cross-court pass from Kourtlin Grant to a wide-open Becca Lobl for a jump shot staked them to a 14-11 lead.
The remainder of the half saw a subtle change as the Tiger defense locked in, and the offense saw Ghylissa Knowles and Derique Donigan start to heat up. They scored the last seven points of the half to take an 18-14 lead into the break.
The second half was much like the first, with Knowles dominating the court, finishing with a game-high 21 points. McIntosh was kept ice-cold, going more than a quarter without a bucket from the floor, as the Tigers completed a 10-0 run and led 26-17 after three quarters.
The Chiefs kept pushing and stayed within single-digits on a Bella Duiser 3-pointer. Fayette bumped the lead back up, and a Knowles trey was the late dagger to seal up the 41-27 win.
Knowles’s 21 was followed by Donigan with 11 points, February Pulley and Nkechinyere Okonkwo with 3, Rasheedah Hasan with 2, and Nneoma Eke with 1.
Madison Howard led the Chiefs with 11 points, followed by Zara Vaughan with 6, Duiser with 5, Grant with 3, and Lobl with 2.
The Lady Tigers win gives them an 8-10 record overall, with a 6-4 region record. McIntosh rebounded the next night with a 44-34 win over Mundy’s Mill and sits at 5-12 overall and 2-7 in region.
The Fayette County boys swept the Mcintosh boys by a final score of 68-59 in an exciting matchup that was a battle until the final minutes.
The win came through blood, sweat, and tears for the Tigers. It was their fifth game in seven days, and three of them went to overtime, so they had to battle through exhaustion against a tough foe.
“Every time we can get a region win, we’re excited about it,” said Fayette coach Andre Flynn. “That builds character. That builds toughness. McIntosh presented some situations. They’re going to execute, so we had to stay locked in. I’m very proud of how we came out and played.”
The first half was a back-and-forth scramble. The lead changed hands several times, as the Tigers led 16-12 after one quarter.
Cooper Dolhancyk carried the Chiefs with 12 points in the first half, nine of them in the second quarter, to lead 25-23. Tigers answered with 3-pointers from King Calhoun and Nick Price to slide back in front 31-28 heading to the break.
JeKobe Coleman’s assist to Terry Brown opened the third quarter to continue their advantage. Coleman finished with 7 assists, but it was his scoring that led the way as he posted a game-high 27 points. He dished to Rashod Rouse for two to finish the third head 43-40, and the combo connected again to open the fourth.
Camerin Lyons scored five in a row for the Chiefs, and Rouse answered with a 3-pointer midway through the frame, providing a nice spark off the bench with 7 points.
“He’s been hurt, but he’s coming around. He can shoot, and he plays good defense,” Flynn said of Rouse. “He’s been hobbled by a hip injury a little bit, so we’re glad to see he’s coming around right on time for the region tournament.”
The Chiefs got as close as 51-47, but the Tigers salted it away late. After Burke Berry hit a 3-pointer to get back within eight points with 24 seconds left, Calhoun emphatically ended any comeback hopes with a breakaway dunk.
Coleman led all scorers with 27 points. Calhoun added 13, Price 10, Rouse 7, Brown 6, Cardell Bailey 3, and Chapez Sims 2.
Berry set a career-high with 18 points to lead the Chiefs. Dolhancyk followed with 17, Lyons with 15, Shaun Nichols with 7, and Evan Gillanders with 2.
The Tigers returned home with a thrilling victory to run their record to 12-9 overall and 7-3 in region. The Chiefs drop to 11-8 overall and 4-5 in region.