Reeltown prides itself on having its athletes play their best when the game is on the line. Wednesday’s Class 2A Area 8 championship fling against Thorsby saw that mindset in motion as Reeltown outlasted their opponents en route to a 2A Area 8 championship.
Despite trailing by four points heading into the fourth quarter, the Rebels dominated the final frame to earn a 39-30 victory.
“We pride ourselves on being in shape,” Reeltown coach Will Solomon said. “And when we were finally able to take the lead, that’s when things started rolling.”
The Rebels pushed ahead 17-15 to end the first half but found themselves on the wrong end of a Thorsby rally and fell behind 20-17 heading into the break.
All-tournament selection Carlee Wyatt posted 10 points to led Thorsby and accounted for a key basket late in the third frame to keep her squad up by four, 24-20.
With the band and the stands rocking, the Rebels turned up the pressure and leveled the tally to 26-26 with just under seven minutes to play in the final frame.
“Defensively, we knew they ran a really good man offense, so we worked hard on knowing when to switch and when to be aggressive,” Solomon said. “In the first half, we didn’t do a good job of getting the ball down (to the basket). So in the second half, we changed that and went with two forwards and were able to get the ball (closer to the basket) and that allowed some things to open up for us.”
Makayla Langston used every inch of her 5-foot-11 frame to finish the night with 11 rebounds and nine points, two of which were crucial in securing the Reeltown lead.
“Makayla, of course, was big, but I’ve got ninth-graders (Yonna Kimble and Dasia Keith) that really made a big difference rebounding (Wednesday night). I told them after the game that if you don’t play good defense, you don’t get on the court and they worked really hard to improve on defense and that made the difference.”
Langston forced a turnover that led to a Taniya Haynes basket, extending the lead.
Thorsby’s Heather Turner sank the front end of a pair of free throws to cut the margin to 28-27. But the Rebels answered with a 10-3 run to the championship.
As time expired, the student section popped confetti as the band played celebrating the victory.
Langston, Haynes and Diyanna Newton were the Reeltown selections for the all-tournament team.
With the victory, Reeltown secured home-court advantage in the sub-regionals Monday. It will host the loser of the GW Long versus Abbeville game, which will be played later in the week.