Fannett-Metal 48, So. Fulton 34

Of note: The Tigers opened the game on a 13-2 run and began the second half with a 12-0 spurt ... Justin Bannister had 13 points and 10 rebounds for F-M ... For the Indians, Josh Hall tallied 14 points.

Records: Fannett-Metal (14-2, 8-2 SHL) plays Monday at Northern Bedford, 7:30 ... SF is 10-6 (6-5 SHL) and hosts Hyndman on Monday, 7:30.

By ED GOTWALS

Sports editor

WILLOW HILL -- The warmups before the game and before the start of the second half did not achieve what they were intended to do for Southern Fulton on Friday night.

The Indians may have been warmed up, but they weren't ready to face the Fannett-Metal defense.

SF scored just two points in the first quarter and four in the third and those barren stretches were too much to overcome against the Tigers, who won their 10th straight boys basketball game, 48-34, in a Sideling Hill League matchup.

"Our defense has been phenomenal," F-M coach Greg Best said. "All the kids have bought into it, so it's been a real team effort."

Southern Fulton did not score until there was 2:55 left in the first period, on a Derek Younker jumper, and it trailed 9-2 at the end of the quarter.

"The good start got us all pumped up and got the crowd into it," F-M's Justin Bannister said.

After the Indians rallied in the second quarter to get within 22-18 at halftime, Fannett-Metal opened the third period by scoring the first 12 points. SF's only four points of the period came in the final 33 seconds.

"I think our team is bi-polar, and it's killing us," Southern Fulton coach Kent Hendershot said. "We missed a layup and two free throws right at the start of the game and couldn't get going."

The Tigers didn't start out hot, either, but a 3-pointer by Frankie Gordon just beat the buzzer to end the first period. A trey by Freddie Rickard just before halftime kept the lead.

In the third quarter, Fannett-Metal took complete control.

Best said, "I thought we got outhustled in the first half and we told them that at halftime. Our defense in the second half was excellent -- they didn't get many good looks. And we took advantage of some mismatches on offense and ran some set plays."

"We made some changes for the third quarter and worked well as a team," Bannister said.

In the 12-0 run, Ryan Dovey (12 points) hit from the baseline and scored on two layups. Bannister (13 points) finished a fastbreak and hit a layup. The other bucket came when Colton Bair got to a long rebound and tipped it over the SF defense to Gordon (11 points) for a layup.

Hendershot said, "I thought Gordon hurt us. He seemed to hit some shots when they really needed them to stop the bleeding."

Zach Crouse made a 4-point play to open the fourth period -- he hit a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game and was fouled. Bannister then went coast-to-coast with a rebound to make it 40-22 and SF never got closer than 10 points again.

Had it not been for a wild second quarter, it wouldn't have been that close. Josh Hall connected on a trio of 3-pointers within a span of about two minutes and Andrew Merica also dropped one in as the Indians went from two points to 18 in a hurry.

"Hall was just unconscious there for a while," Best said.

But Gordon upgraded his defense on Hall, who scored only one more bucket, on a steal, the rest of the way.

Hendershot said, "There were some things that went our way tonight, but we didn't take advantage of them. We made too many mistakes to beat a good team like Fannett-Metal. We need to re-evaluate."

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Ed Gotwals may be reached at 262-4755 and egotwals@publicopinionnews.com.

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Fannett-Metal 48, So. Fulton 34

SOUTHERN FULTON

Jesse Smartt 0-3 0-0 0, Andrew Merica 2-5 0-2 5, Josh Wertz 2-6 0-0 4, Josh Hall 5-14 1-2 14, Luke Mellott 0-6 0-0 0, Dylan Whiteside 1-4 2-2 4, Derek Younker 2-4 0-0 4, Zach Leasure 0-2 0-0 0, Seth Hall 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 13-46 3-6 34.

FANNETT-METAL

Zach Crouse 1-2 2-3 5, Frankie Gordon 5-14 0-0 11, Justin Bannister 6-10 1-2 13, Ryan Dovey 4-12 4-4 12, Colton Bair 2-9 0-1 4, Freddie Rickard 1-1 0-0 3, Taylor Hockenberry 0-0 0-0 0, Eddie Kreigline 0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 7-10 48.

Southern Fulton 2 16 4 17 -- 34

Fannett-Metal 9 13 12 14 -- 48

3-point shots -- SF 5-18 (J.Hall 3, Merica, S.Hall); FM 3-5 (Crouse, Gordon, Rickard). Shooting -- SF 28.3%; FM 39.6%. Rebounds -- SF 27 (Mellott 6); FM 31 (Bannister 10, Dovey 9). Assists -- SF 10 (Merica 5); FM 10 (Bair 5). Steals -- SF 7 (J.Hall 4); FM 9 (Bair 5). Turnovers -- SF 19; FM 14. Blocked shots -- SF 6 (Wertz). Fouls -- SF 14; FM 11.