Tigers get 1st win over arch rivals

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Green Forest's Justin Reece faked, then drove on Berryville's Efren Trujillo during tournament play. Reece scored 17 against Berryville, then eight the next night against Huntsville in the championship game. David McNeal / Carroll County News

GREEN FOREST -- Tiger fans and players were leaping for joy last Thursday night when Coach Bill Niven's senior boys posted a 52-49 victory over their arch rival, the Berryville Bobcats, advancing them to the championship game of the 51st Holiday Tournament.

"In my four years here, that's our first win over Berryville,"?Coach Niven said. "I'm glad we don't have to play them again."

Green Forest controlled the tip and scored first, but Berryville led 11-9 after one quarter. Bobcat post man Clayton Taff, playing for the first time after an illness, battled Tiger inside men Matt McCoy and Craig Couey and helped Berryville to a 22-19 halftime lead.

Green Forest tied the game 29-29 in the third, but Berryville held a 36-32 edge until a turnover at the end of that quarter after Levi Hereth and Colby Singer hit threes.

The Tigers quickly inbounded the ball and lobbed it inside to Couey. But instead of a shot, he dumped it off to teammate Justin Reece for a reverse layup, good for a 36-34 third quarter score.

In the fourth quarter, Berryville led 42-35 with 5:21 to play, but the Tigers came back, with Couey making it 44-40 with a basket at the 3:52 mark.

Lucas Graham, who scored all 10 of his points in the fourth, got a steal and layup with 2:07 to go and was fouled by Bobcat Colby Singer. The bucket counted and Graham gave the Tigers their first lead after he made the free throw, 45-44.

"Lucas finally woke up,"?Niven said. "He was playing a little tight, but he can put points on the board."

Taff was fouled on the next play and added a free throw to the basket for a 47-45 Berryville lead, then a free throw by Graham and bucket by Reece put the Tigers up again, 48-47.

Graham hit two free throws with 39 seconds to play to lead 50-47, then Berryville's Will Marley streaked underneath for two to bring Berryville to 49-50.

Couey hit a free throw with 22 ticks on the clock for a 51-49 Green Forest lead, then disaster struck for Berryville when a carrying-the-ball call was made with just eight seconds to go.

The Bobcats had to foul, Graham hit one, and a last Berryville shot missed, giving Green Forest a 52-49 victory.

Scoring- GF- 17's- Reece, McCoy; Graham- 10, 6/8 Fts; Couey- 8. Team- 10/17 Fts, 8/12 4th. BV- Taff- 13; Singer- 12, 1 3s; Cody Curtis- 10, 1 3s; K.J. Phillips- 9, 3/3 Fts; Levi Hereth- 5, 1 3s. Team- 6/11 Fts, 3/3 4th.

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