“We knew they were very athletic. We knew they were quick and we knew they would be aggressive in attacking the boards on both ends of the floor. At the same time, we felt like because they were so aggressive attacking the boards we thought we could get some quick baskets in transition,” Felder said. “That helped us out a lot tonight. We really weren’t on offensively, never did get a good rhythm offensively but they had a lot to do with that the way they played defense.”
“Really, our main focus was to try to play better defense because last week they really hurt us down low with (Justin Foster) and then kicking it back out. … I think that was probably the best defensive effort we’ve had all season,” said first-year Wellborn coach Beau Winn. “Our defense has gotten so much better in our man-to-man and half-court defense.”
The Falcons led at every quarter break and extended their 36-32 third-quarter advantage to 42-34 with 3:17 to play when Chris Carr was awarded a basket on a goaltending call. From there, matters got dicey.
Over the next 90 seconds, Wellborn’s Landon Machristie scored from the paint twice and the Panthers trailed just 42-38. The Falcons had opportunities to put the game away at the free throw line. Their 4-for-9 showing was enough to extend their edge back to eight points at 46-38 with 42 seconds to play.
Junior Corri Tignor started another Panther push with a 3-point basket but Foster answered for Donoho with a pair of foul shots. Tignor’s putback made it 48-43 with 16 seconds on the clock before Carr added one more Donoho free throw. Machristie banked home another trey for Wellborn at the four-second mark. Wellborn got one more possession when Donoho missed two charity shots but was unable to get a shot away.
“We didn’t shoot as well as we wanted to but we made enough of them to keep our lead,” Felder said of the Falcons’ free throw shooting.
Foster led all scorers with 17 points. Chris Carr and Kevin Carr each had nine points. Parker Morgan and Richard Bateman added six points apiece for Donoho.
Machristie led Wellborn with 13 points. Senior point guard Devron Taylor tallied 11 points for the Panthers. Tignor finished with eight points while Jordan Montgomery and Blake Hanson each had six.
Ranburne 84, Jacksonville Christian 75: In the boys’ consolation game, Ranburne scored 33 points in the second quarter for a 45-30 halftime advantage then allowed 27 points in the third period as a double-digit lead gradually evaporated. A 3-point basket by JCA’s Alex Jones with just more than a minute to play got the Thunder within two points at 77-75. Ranburne’s final seven points came at the charity stripe. Spence Florczak was 3-for-4 while Kyle Lovvorn and Dylan Wiggins each went 2-for-2.
Mark David Smith led the Bulldogs with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Lovvorn had 21 points, five assists and three steals in the win. Wiggins and Owen Smith each scored 17 points. Wiggins added nine assists and six rebounds. Florczak ended with nine points.
Jones topped the Thunder with 25 points, 19 in the second half. He netted four treys. Dakota Crook added 19 points for JCA and Walker Messer had 12 points.