WILLOW HILL - After scratching and clawing its way back to take a lead in a boys basketball game Friday, Forbes Road wasn't out of the weeds just yet.
"I thought they kept giving us chances to let us tie the game or take the lead in the final minute," Fannett-Metal coach Greg Best said.
But fortunately for Forbes Road, the Tigers couldn't capitalize on their chances and suffered a 51-47 loss in Sideling Hill/Inter-County Conference action.
"There in the fourth, we got to where we were comfortable with their zone," Cardinal coach Trent Black said. "We got into the seam some and became more patient. We weren't forcing any jumpers, and I think that's what took care of it."
After trailing by six at the end of the third quarter, Fannett-Metal (4-13, 3-9 SHL, 3-7 ICC) came out with two quick layups to start the fourth. The Tigers even pulled ahead, 41-40, with 3:45 to go. But Forbes Road (5-12, 3-9 SHL, 3-7 ICC) reeled off five straight points, including a putback from Matt Brown and a wide-open layup by Grayson Hall.
The Tigers had a pair of costly turnovers in the final two minutes, and when it became a free-throw shooting contest, Forbes Road sealed the victory. After missing two free throws early in the fourth quarter, Hall banked a pair with less than 10 seconds to go to set the final score.
"The first two rimmed out, so I knew I was right on target," Hall said. "I just needed a little more legs to make those last two."
Best said, "We had some missed opportunities and costly turnovers, but the guys never gave up. The game wasn't decided until the final second, and hats off to Forbes Road because they battled back. That was just another great rivalry game between us this year."
In the locker room, Black was not a happy camper. With Forbes Road trailing 26-19, he likely pointed at the rebounding - or lack thereof - as a big reason why. Fannett-Metal was all over the boards in the first half, racking up a 21-10 advantage. But by the end of the game, that advantage was only 30-27.
"It was the main difference tonight, I believe," Black said. "We were very soft on the boards in the first half, and we finally got on them in the second half. It really paid off. They came out wanting it more than we did, and finally we decided we wanted to play."
Hall said, "Coach Black really told us we needed to get better on the boards. So we listened to that and tried to box out harder underneath."
Forbes Road also had a slew of point scorers, while Mikell McGee and Layton Hoffman did most of the work for F-M. McGee finished with 22 points, while Hoffmann had 11. For the Cardinals, Brown, Michael Fleck and Hall all pocketed 12 points.
"They really opened our zone up, spacing it out and exploiting our weaknesses," Best said. "We seemed like we couldn't hit the big shot we needed; we called a couple timeouts to try to stop the bleeding. They just kept sneaking in shot after shot in the third."
Forbes Road 51, Fannett-Metal 47
Forbes Road (51)
Aaron Schepis 2 3-4 7, Matt Brown 4 1-2 12, Brycen Hohman 3 2-2 8, Michael Fleck 4 4-4 12, Grayson Hall 4 4-6 12, Talon Blair 1 0-0 2, Jackson Chilcote 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 14-18 51.
Layton Hoffmann 4 2-2 11, Mikell McGee 9 4-7 22, Lucas Wingert 3 1-2 7, Sawyer Rosenberry 2 0-0 4, Colby Adams 0 1-2 1, Austin Raymer 1 0-0 2, Timber Brookens 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 8-13 47.
Forbes Road_ 10 _ 9 _ 19 _ 13 _ — _ 51
Fann.-Metal _ 14 _ 12 _ 6 _ 15 _ — _ 47
3-point goals — FR 1 (Brown), FM 1 (Hoffmann).
JV score — Forbes Road 56, Fannett-Metal 50. Talon Blair led the Cardinals with 12 points, while Colby Adams scored 15 for F-M.