Tigers continue winning ways
Darge comes up "large" with double-double; Thompsonville tops Galatia

THOMPSONVILLE - Coming off of a consolation championship game win last week at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament, head coach Pete Gordon saw his club come out with a great second half defensive effort in a 50-42 win.

Behind an outstanding 17-point, 13-rebound effort by 6-foot-7 junior Anthony Darge along with four blocked shots by the big man in the middle, Thompsonville held the Galatia Bearcats to just 12-points in the second half in a come-from-behind 50-42 Tuesday night at home in a Greater Egyptian Conference contest.

Six-foot-two sophomore guard Corbin Fitch added 16-points for the Tigers, mostly on drives to the basket as Thompsonville improved to 8-6 overall, and 3-1 in league play.

Darge finished 6-of-7 from the field while Fitch hit 7-of-8.

The Tigers also closed out the game well against the Bearcats, knocking down 12-of-17 free throws which included 9-of-13 in the fourth quarter.

The Bearcats were led by 6-foot-3 senior forward Will Pulliam with 10-points while 6-foot-3 senior center Ben Mitchell and 6-foot-6 senior Austin Pritchett added eight-points each.

But the key to the contest was the defensive end of the floor.

Junior Tyson Kessler added just seven-points for Thompsonville, but it was the defensive end that he performed the best.

Assigned Galatia's guard Austin Stevens, the 5-foot-10 guard allowed just a pair of early baskets by the senior as he held him to just five-points on the night.

“We started doing this at Sesser-Valier, we pick their best player and Tyson (Kessler) is becoming a very good shut down defender,” said Coach Gordon. “We tell him you have no help responsibilities. You just guard him one-on-one, limit his touches, and it helped us out tonight.”

Coach Rod Wallace's club hit just 5-of-20 shots in the second half and just 18-of-49 overall.

Thompsonville held a 27-23 rebounding spread while each team finished with 15-turnovers but the Tigers had just two miscues in the fourth quarter as they held on to the lead.

Nine of the rebounds were on the offensive end for the Tigers.

“We always talk about second chance opportunities. We won that battle tonight and it is tough to win games without getting those,” said Coach Gordon. “If you can win that stat, you will often times win on the scoreboard.”

The Bearcats (5-10 overall, 3-3 GEC) got off to a good start in the game and they used a 10-0 run to close the first half with an 18-12 advantage.

Pulliam started and finished the run with a pair of scores while Mitchell added two inside baskets on nice spin moves.

A fast break score off of a steal by Stevens was part of the run that gave the Bearcats a six-point lead at the horn.

Galatia's largest lead came after a three-point play by Pulliam and an inside score by Pritchett on a lob pass that turned into a lay in for a 23-16 lead with 6:06 left in the half.

At this point, Coach Gordon saw his team step up with a 12-4 run.

Fitch took an inbound pass and drove the lane to start the run with a score.

Senior Jacob Dixon scored his only points of the night in the run with a bucket in the paint.

A Kessler transition bucket and two scores inside by Darge gave Thompsonville back the lead at 28-27.

Pulliam nailed a 3-point shot from the left corner to close the first half scoring at 30-28 Bearcats.

The Tigers took command on the defensive end of the floor in the third quarter to get back the lead for good.

Six-foot-five junior Reed Raubach scored just five-points on the night for Thompsonville, but they were important during a third quarter stretch.

Darge scored twice in the quarter in close to the basket and Fitch added a bucket during an 11-4 quarter.

Raubach converted a 3-pointer from the right wing and then closed the frame with a jumper from the baseline as Thompsonville led 39-34 heading to the final quarter.

The Bearcats hit just 2-of-9 shots in the third while committing four turnovers as they fell behind.

After a basket by senior Zack Kirkman started the quarter for the Tigers, Coach Gordon's club began running clock on the offensive end.

Forced to foul in the final frame, the Bearcats paraded the hosts to the line and the Tigers closed the deal for the win from the stripe.

Darge, Kessler and Finch and junior guard Peyton Roberts all converted from the line in the run.

“Down the stretch it is important to get to the free throw line and to make them. We knew that they (Galatia) wasn't very deep so if we could put fouls on them early and then late in the game we were attacking and that helped us down the stretch,” said Coach Gordon.

Kessler hit 5-of-6 foul shots and Darge helped close out the win with three big defensive rebounds as Galatia missed three late 3-point attempts at the end.

The Tigers ended up 18-of-40 overall from the floor, with most of the shots coming inside of the arc.

They hit just 2-of-6 from the 3-point line as they got the ball inside for most of the night, especially to Darge.

“His field goal percentage is off the charts, he (Darge) is about 56 percent for the year,” said Coach Gordon. “He can't shoot enough for us, especially early. We have to get him looks and get him touches. Then that just free's up our guards to show their ability to dribble-drive and get some perimeter looks.”

The Tigers hit the road for an important GEC match up at Hardin County of Friday night while Galatia will travel to Agape Christian on Friday in a non-conference battle.

Galatia (42) – Stevens 1 1 0-0 5, Mitchell 4 0 0-0 0, Pulliam 3 1 1-2 10, Lane 1 1 0-0 5, Hankins 1 1 1-3 6 Pritchett 4 0 0 -0 8, Glenn 0 0 0-0 0, Beers 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-14, 3FG-4, FT-2-5, PF-21.

Thompsonville (50) – Kessler 1 0 5-6 7, Roberts 0 0 1-3 1, Raubach 1 1 0-0 5, Fitch 6 1 1-1 16, Darge 6 0 5-6 17, Kirkman 1 0 0-1 2, Dixon 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-16, 3FG-2, FT-12-17, PF-10.

Fouled Out – Stevens, Mitchell - Galatia.
Technical Fouls – None.