Dante Sterling goes up for the jam as part of his 35 point explosion for Fayette County.
The Fayette County boys basketball team picked up their third win of the season after handing county rival McIntosh their second loss of the season in a 73-56 thumping on Saturday.
“I thought we looked good in the first half, but in the second half I thought we slowed down,” said Tigers coach Andre Flynn. “McIntosh is a good team. They came in 7-1 and they have been doing some things and they slowed us down in the second half but I like how my team got our composure back and retook control of the game.”
Dante Sterling had a monster game for the Tigers with 35 points including seven from downtown while CJ Johnson followed that up with 16 points.
“I thought Dante was our leader tonight and he showed up and we are just going to ride him,” Flynn said.
Fayette’s ability to hit threes early and often forced McIntosh to play catch up for the entire game. The Tigers unleashed a barrage of seven treys in the first quarter alone.
In the third quarter, just when the Chiefs seemed to be poised to cut a once 20 point lead to under 10 points, an injury suffered by arguably their best player Jordan Lyons derailed any chance of a comeback attempt. Lyons was forced to the bench unable to return after a mid-air collision on an offensive rebound attempt caused him to fall violently on his back and head with 36 second left in the quarter and the Chiefs within nine (51-42). Lyons had 14 points before exiting the game and Dishon Lowery led the Chiefs with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“Fayette came out hot and when you shoot the ball as well as they did it's tough,” said Chiefs coach Jason Eisele, whose team gave up 14 total three pointers. “A lot of those shots they were making in the first half we weren’t guarding, so I knew if we started guarding them they would slow down and we did a little better job of that to start the second half.
“We will learn from this and get better.”
In the fourth quarter, a shorthanded McIntosh squad was no match for the Tigers as Sterling and company began to put on a clinic in the fourth as they stretched the lead.
“I challenged the guys to be great,” Flynn said of his team. “I think we’re good, and I think they know they’re good but we are trying to be great. We are trying to do something special.”
McIntosh (7-2) will look to bounce back when they travel to undefeated Sandy Creek (5-0) on Saturday while Fayette (3-0) will look to make it four wins in a row when they host Creekside (6-4) on Friday.
In the opener the Lady Tigers toppled McIntosh for a 44-29 victory.
The season is heating up and a strong rivalry is always a good way to get things going. For the Tigers, their defense helped them snare a key victory.
"I thought we really played good team defense against McIntosh," said Fayette County head coach John Strickland. "Although we have a long way to go overall with our offense and defense, I will say the girls have really focused a lot of attention on playing better team defense."
The matchup had a new feel this season with four year starting point guards Keyondra Jenkins and Gabby Seiler now playing at the collegiate. Their duels were a yearly treat, but thankfully there's still plenty of talent to go around. Fayette's Kayla Smith and McIntosh's Cassidy Williams staged their own showdown with each scoring 17 points. FC's Latia Styles added 12.
Fayette got off to hot start, building up a 15-5 lead after one quarter. That grew to a 12 point advantage late in the first half before Cassidy Williams's three trimmed the deficit to 24-15 at the half.
Kristin Campbell and Asia Harper traded treys as the Tigers took a 33-20 lead heading into the final frame. Both teams continued hitting from downtown in the fourth as Fayette's Kayla Smith and Latia Styles both sank one. Christine Cerezola sank a pair of threes, chipping away at the lead.
Fayette would maintain enough cushion to win 44-29. The Tigers ran their record to 4-1 while the Chiefs drop to 3-5.