The Fayette County boys basketball team started the new year off on a good note with an impressive 74-63 win over Lovejoy Saturday night.
CJ Johnson poured In a game-high 20 points for a Tigers team that found numerous ways to put the ball In the basket. Chaz Berry and Clark MinnifIeld combined for 28 points off the Fayette County bench.
"I think we're coming around," said Fayette coach Andre Flynn, whose team evened tts record at 4-4 overall. "We have 10 players and all those guys are going to get an opportunity to play."
"And like I told them it's a new season, once you get out there you have to produce. There should be no drop off." Flynn added.
The Tigers began the game with a little lag as Lovejoy jumped ahead early in front of Its home crowd. However Fayette would find thier footing late in the first quarter, specifically Dante Sterling who scored 11 of his 14 points in the final two minutes of the quarter to help the Tigers gain a 19-13 edge after the first frame.
Lovejoy came out firing In the second quarter and eventually recaptured a slight lead, then Flynn inserted the backups who responded by going on a 14-0 run to help Fayette regain the lead and stretch it to 13 to go into halftime with a 37-27 advantage.
The third quarter belonged strictly to Lovejoy as It outscored Fayette 20-10 to knot the game at 47 all going into the final quarter.
In the fourth Fayette's bench was once again a factor as Berry ran off eight straight points at the four minute mark to give the Tigers a 61-54 lead with 2:00 remaining as they held on for the win.
Despite the loss, Lovejoy got 19-point efforts from Deangelo Anthony and Jahir Cabeza.
"Our season starts on Tuesday with region play," Flynn said. "We want to win the region, that's no secret, so we have hard work to do."
The Fayette County girls basketball team also began the new year successfully after a 57-30 rout over Lovejoy.
"I thought we did pretty good tonight," said Lady Tigers coach John Strickland, whose team also moved to 4-4 overall. "Coming off of the winter break we had to get the excitement back and blood pumping. I was pleased with it."
Fayette County's Aneesa Watson rained in a game-high 24 points including 17 in the first half.
After falling behind 6-0 at the start of the game, the Lady Tigers stormed back with the help of a suffocating half court trapping defense that led to a plethora of turnovers by Lovejoy that Fayette converted into points.
The Lady Tigers outscored Lovejoy 20-3 in the second quarter to go up 29-9 at the half. Fifteen of those points came courtesy of Watson's effort from behind the arc and at the free-throw-line.
"She was hitting her shots," Strickland said of Watson. "She has been a force so far this season."
The second half was a mirror of the first half for the Lady Tigers as they coasted to victory.