2 fans escorted from gym
By JOSH FRYE
News Staff Writer
A wild ride. Those are the only words that can be used to describe the J.U. Blacksher 48-43 win over rival Excel High School Thursday, January 31.
The Blacksher Bulldogs went into the game as the no. 1 seed for the area tournament with 13-6 overall record and 5-0 in area play.
The first two quarters of the game started slow for the Bulldogs. At the end of the first, the Panthers led the Bulldogs, 10-7.
As the second quarter began, the gym at J.U. Blacksher suddenly erupted with opposite stands taunting the other, making the game just that much more electric.
Blacksher’s J.T. Tucker made several highlight drives to the net including a slam dunk. The Blacksher fans erupted with the showmanship Tucker was displaying.
Excel however still held a lead on the Bulldogs at the half, 17-14.
The Panthers displayed that they were not a team that was going to back down.
The electricity in the stands grew over halftime and the chants and game became wilder during the third quarter.
Tensions also grew between the two benches.
The officials had benched several Excel players for too many fouls and the frustration between Excel’s head coach and the officiating staff boiled over late in the third, resulting in the Panthers head coach and the official staring nose-to-nose due to the benching of an Excel player for too many fouls.
Two fans also overstepped their bounds when they made their way onto the court to confront an official.
Their act resulted in their being escorted out of the gym by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
As the game continued, the Bulldogs pulled together and took advantage of the frustration the Panthers were experiencing. Blacksher jumped in front of the Panthers, 37-35.
As the game continued into the fourth, the stands grew louder and louder with taunts at the opposing teams and both teams geared up for a shootout to the end.
Blacksher came out firing on all cylinders against Excel.
Excel however refused to go down without a fight but the animosity between the coach and the officials still lingered.
An official mistakenly ejected another Excel player for too many fouls. The Panther coach immediately stopped play, challenging the call.
With the Excel coaching staff steaming, J.U. Blacksher was able to jump ahead and close the game out 48-43.
Uriah’s K.D. Rabb led the scoring for the Bulldogs with a total of 32 points. Dorian Quarles added 2 points. J.T. Tucker tallied 5 points. Gavin Banks had 3 points. J.D. Nettles tacked on 6 points for the Bulldogs.
“I would have liked to have seen the guys score more early in the game,” Blacksher head coach Wes Sims said. “We made some mistakes but we were able to come out with a win. I am proud of my team and we are ready to go into the area tournament.”
The varsity girls’ team also found a win against Excel as they defeated the Panthers 38-24.
The win broke a 7-game losing streak for the Bulldogs and added a much-needed boost as they go into the area tournament this week.
The Lady Bulldogs have had their share of bad luck this year but are looking for a chance to turn their luck around and they started with the Panthers. The Bulldogs took an early jump on Excel and played with speed during the first half.
As the third quarter began, they turned the notch up and began to take a comfortable lead over the Panthers.
The girls outshot the Panthers during the fourth to hold on for the win and snap the losing streak.
Seventh-grader Aniyah Tucker was the leading scorer for the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points. Junior Kayley Burgess had 5. Seventh-grader Tootie Watts had 4.
Sophomore Alyssa Gulley had 2. Junior Laurel Sims had 2. Sophomore Colby Hollinger had 3. Senior Savannah Scott had 1.
“They did well,” Blacksher head coach Zachary Smith said. “The girls executed on pressure and had some good looks. They played with momentum. That will help drive us into the area tournament. I am very proud of each of them.”
The area tournament is set for this week. Blacksher will play host as the no. 1 seed.
The boys’ varsity team will face Washington County in the first round on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m., in Uriah. If they are victorious against Washington County, they will take on the winner from the Leroy and Southern Choctaw game on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., in Uriah.
The Lady Bulldogs are set to take on Southern Choctaw on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Southern Choctaw. They are going into the tournament in the fourth seed position.