It’s been almost two months since the Red Bank Lions had played an official basketball game and coach Nick Fike wasn’t really sure what to expect, but things turned out just fine on Tuesday night at the Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium as the Lions pulled away in the second half for a convincing 57-29 victory over the Signal Mountain Eagles.
Red Bank improves to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in District 6-AA play while the Eagles fall to 2-5 overall and 1-0 in 6-AA.
Tuesday’s game was the first where the Red Bank football players were available and there were some guys who had never played a real game before, so Fike had reason to be a bit on the nervous side.
Turns out he really didn’t have a whole lot to worry about.
“I keep telling these guys that patience is a virtue, but that’s something we weren’t in the first half,” said Fike shortly after Tuesday’s game ended.
“I was pleased with how we responded in the second half, but not so much in the first as we fouled too much and really played sloppy basketball. I guess that was expected, but we started executing on offense in the second half and were able to get the results we were looking for.
“We turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and that gave Signal some trouble, but we were in good position and played much better in the second half,” the veteran coach added.
Signal Mountain coach Steven Redman liked what his team did in the first half, but not so much in the final two stanzas.
“This game was a tale of two halves,” he began with a smile after a brief talk with his team.
“I thought we did a good job in the first half of getting to the free throw line and we rebounded well, but once Red Bank got on a roll, it got ugly.
“Scoring eight points in the second half isn’t going to get it. We missed too many layups and too many other open shots. We got some good looks, but they just didn’t go in. I thought we played hard the entire game and I can’t fault our effort, but we had about three weeks where we didn’t get to do anything and it showed tonight.
“We play at Hixson on Thursday, so we don’t have long to agonize over this one,” Redman added.
The Lions bolted to a 9-2 lead in the first four minutes of the opening quarter and still had an 11-5 lead when the first stanza ended.
Jermaine Stinson scored four points and Braeden Wolford sank a pair of free throws as the Eagles knotted the score at 11-11 with 6:30 left in the second. The Eagles only had one more field goal in the half, but kept the game close at the free throw line by sinking nine of 15 in the second quarter alone.
Cam Bell converted a three-point play with 26.8 seconds left to give Red Bank a three–point lead before Andrew Matukewicz banked in a 3 from the key at the end to knot the score at halftime.
Benjamin Burns scored on a drive down the lane with 6:53 left in the third to put the Eagles ahead at 23-21, but Signal Mountain didn’t score the rest of the way as Red Bank finished the quarter on a 16-0 run.
Wolford broke the ice with a short bank shot two minutes into the final quarter to make it 39-25, but by the time Max Johnson scored on a layup with 1:05 showing, Red Bank had scored 15 more unanswered points and had the game firmly in hand.
Bell, one of those football players that Fike was referring to, had a big second half with 15 points to finish with a game-high 21. Kel Eddins was also in double figures for the Lions with 13 points.
Wolford scored nine points to lead the Eagles. Burns was next with seven.
Red Bank ended the game with an unofficial 32-25 edge in rebounds after the Eagles had a 17-15 advantage at the break.
Bell had nine to lead Red Bank while Kalen Sewell snagged five. Wolford had eight for Signal Mountain while Stinson had six.
Red Bank plays at home again on Thursday against Brainerd before going to Hixson on Friday. Signal Mountain goes to Hixson on Thursday.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN GIRLS 78, RED BANK 19: This game was never close as the Lady Eagles scored the first 18 points of the game en route to their fourth win in seven games.
Signal Mountain, unbeaten in three district games, had four players in double figures, led by 16 points from Olivia Koontz. Jaylah Hardy was next with 14 while Cassidy Pawson and Carlee Lowry were next with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Ashley Ware had seven points for the Lady Lions while Aiyana Loher tossed in five.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 26 15 21 16 -- 78
RED BANK 3 5 5 6 -- 19
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN (78) –
Koontz 16, Hardy 14, Kennedy, Walker, Robertson 3, Clark 6, Lowry 10, King, Redman 4, Pawson 12, Rock 6, McCarter 3, McKendrick 4.
RED BANK (19) –
Gann 3, Loher 5, Guye 2, Ware 7, Brown 2, Vinson, Wade.
Signal Mountain 1 (Robertson); Red Bank 2 (Loher, Ware).
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 5 16 2 6 -- 29
RED BANK 11 10 16 20 -- 57
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN (29) –
A. Matukewicz 5, Burns 7, Johnson 2, L. Matukewicz, Novak, Wolford 9, Ottley, Timblin, Davis 2, Stinson 4, Witherspoon, Menzel.
RED BANK (57) –
Barber 7, Swanson 2, Eddins 13, Bell 21, Clay, Ellis 3, Smith, Sewell 5, High 2, Loyd 2, Crutcher 2.
Signal Mountain 1 (A. Matukewicz); Red Bank 4 (Barber, Eddins, Ellis, Sewell).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)