Gallatin County advances past Tigers
Hawks grounded early, soar late, top Thompsonville; NCOE shocks CM

HARRISBURG - According to Gallatin County head coach Doug Miller, his team always has trouble with the Thompsonville Tigers.

And for a half of basketball on Monday night at the Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament his Hawks struggled.

But his club, the ABV third-ranked 1A team in this week's rankings, fought through the issues and used a third quarter run to take advantage of some mistakes by the Tigers.

Behind clutch free throw shooting and a pair of scoring runs to start the second half, the GEC's top-seeded squad cruised home for a 65-44 win to advance to the semifinals.

Seth Ramsey, a 6-foot senior guard and team leader, netted 23-points as the Hawks improved to 15-5 overall.

Ramsey led a free throw shooting parade, hitting 14-of-17 foul shots as the team was 26-of-32 overall from the stripe.

Two other Hawks, sophomore Robbie Prince and Audio Goebel added 14 and 13-points in the victory.

Thompsonville saw its mark slip to 4-11 on the season but, as the eighth-seed in the tournament, they proved to be a strong opening round challenge.

Six-foot-one freshman guard Corbin Fitch stepped up for Coach Pete Gordon's Tigers, netting 19-points while 6-foot-7 sophomore Anthony Darge added 10 as Thompsonville is now in the consolation semifinals to be played Thursday night.

“They (Thompsonville) guarded us well tonight and give them credit for their effort. Last year they were ahead of us by one in this game and we got a last second shot by Ramsey to win it in the first round,” said Coach Miller. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle. Even when you don't play your best and you still win, it shows your heart and guts. We hung in there and we scrapped and scraped and we got the job done.”

Thompsonville started off by making a lot of mistakes, committing seven of their 16-turnovers in the first quarter as they fell behind by ten.

The Hawks got nine-points from Prince in the first quarter, as the 5-foot-10 guard canned a pair of 3-pointers and cashed in 3-of-4 foul shots.

Senior Luis Rubio scored a pair of baskets off of offensive rebounds as the Hawks went up 17-7.

During a second quarter move, Thompsonville got to the offensive glass, grabbing six rebounds for second chances, with five of the rebounds converted into immediate points.

Fitch grabbed two of the boards, with his second carom cutting the Gallatin County lead to just 22-17 with 2:39 left in the second quarter.

Following a pair of free throws by Goebel, Darge grabbed another offensive rebound for a basket as the teams went to the half with the Tigers down 24-19.

“We took a page out of last year's play book, we played them close a couple of times last year so we played them a 2-3 again. In order for us to compete with a team like that we have to keep the game in the 40's or 50's and the zone helped us with that tonight,” said Coach Gordon. “I'm real proud of the kids' effort tonight. But I thought our youth showed up at times, unfortunately. We had some open looks tonight but we also had times when we didn't get back on defense and you can't do that against them. They exploited that.”

The first two Thompsonville possessions in the second half produced points with Darge collecting yet another rebound for a score and Fitch hit 1-of-2 foul shots as the Tigers trailed just 24-22.

At this point, the Hawks began to make things happen offensively.

Six-consecutive points from Goebel on a conventional three-point play and a 3-pointer from the left wing got the Hawks more breathing room.

Gallatin County delivered the knockout blow with an 11-1 run to finish the frame and the drama.

Ramsey drove the right baseline for a conventional “and-one” which was followed by buckets by Hunter and Byron Walter in the run that closed the frame at 45-29.

Thompsonville was just 4-of-12 from the floor in the third quarter and committed four of their turnovers as they trailed by 16 heading to the fourth.

The Tigers got to within 10-points one final time with senior Jared Payne hitting a trey and Darge grabbing another offensive rebound for a put back.

A three-point play by Fitch made it 47-37 with 6:24 remaining.

Gallatin County closed out the game by hitting 12-consecutive free throws and added four more field goals.

Ramsey, Prince, Aaron Walters and senior Byron Wargel closed out the game with baskets as the Hawks now head to Friday for a date with Norris City-Omaha-Enfield, who topped Carrier Mills in the other quarterfinal.

“They (free throws) are big for us because we a guard oriented so we have to make our free throws to win,” said Coach Miller. “Tonight we made them. We have struggled sometimes this year. It either kills us or it helps us and tonight it helped us.”

Neither team lit the gym on fire Monday night.

Gallatin County hit just 17-of-44 overall (38.6 percent) and 4-of-13 from the arc.

The Tigers hit 36.9 percent (17-of-46) and just 2-of-12 from the 3-point line.

Despite giving up nine offensive rebounds, the Hawks out boarded Thompsonville 28-23 overall.

Coach Miller's club was better handling the ball, committing just nine-turnovers compared to 16-turnovers for the Tigers.

“Our halftime speech was about rebounding effort and horrible boxing out. I just told them to somehow get through this game. Just win this game somehow and we will go to practice tomorrow and get ready for Friday night,” said Coach Miller.

Thompsonville will face Carrier Mills on Thursday night in the consolation bracket.

“For us it has been tough to put 32-minutes together this year because of our youth our margin of error is small. We have been turnover plagued all year,” said Coach Gordon. “But we have to take the bitter with the sweet. It will get better.”

Gallatin County
Thompsonville (44) – Kesler 2 0 0-0 4, Fitch 7 0 5-9 19, Payne 0 2 0-0 6, Darge 5 0 0-0 10, Wilce 0 0 3-4 3, Raubach 0 0 0-0 0, Dixon 1 0 0-0 2, Kirkman 0 0 0-0 0, Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Woodring 0 0 0-0 0, Cardwell 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-15, 3FG-2, FT-8-13, PF-20.
Gallatin County (65) – Ramsey 4 0 14-17 23, Goebel 1 1 8-9 13, Prince 1 3 3-4 14, A. Walters 2 0 0-0 4, Rubio 2 0 1-2 5, Duvall 0 0 0-0 0, H. Walters 2 0 0-0 4, Rushing 0 0 0-0 0, Wargel 1 0 0-0 2, Hish 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-13, 3FG-4, FT-26-32, PF-13.
Fouled Out
– Goebel - Gallatin County.
Technical Fouls
– None.
The Fighting Cardinals opened up a big first half lead and survived a fierce Carrier Mills rally as they pulled a mild upset by sending the fourth-seeded Wildcats to the consolation round with the victory in the opener of the GEC Tournament.

Coach Evan Wyllie deployed his fast-break, pressure strategy on Monday night and it produced a trip to the championship semifinals.

In the offensive explosion NCOE was led by Matt Long, a 6-foot-1 senior, with 34-points.

Long dialed long-distance by hitting four 3-pointers and netted 18-points in the opening half.

Six-foot-three senior forward Cooper Wells added 25-points for NCOE, as they sprinted out to a commanding 50-32 lead at halftime over a stunned Carrier Mills club.

Senior Trenton Verble also added 10-points for the Fighting Cardinals who improved to 5-12 overall as they will take on Gallatin County on Friday night.

The Wildcats rallied in the second half, nearly taking the lead at the end before falling short.

Coach Keil Peebles saw his club fall to 8-11 on the season.

Carrier Mills got 31-points from 6-foot-3 senior Brody Walker and 20-points from 6-foot-3 senior Justice Hill in the defense-optional game, a style that NCOE is accustomed to.

CM also got 16-points from freshman guard Will Gibbs.

Walker scored 19 of his points in the second half as the Wildcats nearly pulled off the massive comeback.

The Wildcats will face Thompsonville in the consolation semifinals Thursday night.

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
Carrier Mills
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (82) – Wells 9 1 4-4 25, Verble 2 2 0-0 10, Long 9 7 4-6 34, Baumgart 1 0 0-0 2, Taylor 0 0 0-0 0, Simmons 0 0 0-0 0, O'Neal 1 0 1-2 3, Healy 1 0 0-2 2, Skaggs 3 0 0-0 6.
2FG-26, 3FG-7, FT-9-14, PF-19.

Carrier Mills (77) – Hill 8 0 4-5 20, Walker 13 0 5-6 31, Gibbs 4 1 5-6 16, Austin 1 0 1-4 3, Schwartz 1 0 3-4 5, Lollis 1 0 0-0 2, Lewis 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-28, 3FG-1, FT-18-25, PF-14.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.