The Festus Boys Varsity Basketball team had a rough go of it in the Annual Christmas Tournament last week, but they rebounded on the road in a big way with wins over DeSoto and Seckman on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. The pair of victories helped make up for two heart-breaking losses in the tourney and bumped the Tigers’ overall record to 9-3.
Tuesday’s tilt with DeSoto saw Festus start out hot, dropping 16 on the Dragons in the first quarter, highlighted by eight from Arhmad Branch. The defense stood tall and held DeSoto to just seven for a nice lead after eight minutes of play. That momentum would carry over into the second, as the Tigers put up 15 with a big performance from Logan Cash at the line, hitting five shots. They kept the Dragons at bay with just nine, making it 32-16 when the buzzer sounded. Doubling your opponent’s total at the half is never a bad thing.
The Tigers stayed hot offensively after the break, putting up 17, thanks to a pair of buckets from Branch and a big three from Carter Roth. DeSoto fought back with their best quarter of the game (18 points), but Festus still held a formidable 48-34 advantage going into the fourth quarter. Roth was big at the line this time, making four shots, and the Tigers stomped out any hopes of a Dragon comeback. When the dust settled they had a 59-42 victory.
Branch led the way in this one with 20 points on seven buckets and a three-pointer, while Cash was next in line with 15 on five two-point baskets and a 5-of-6 performance from the charity stripe. Roth was the other impact offensive player with nine points, a three and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the line.
Looking to start a winning streak, the Tigers headed to Seckman on Friday and would have their hands full in this one. Things went the Tigers’ way in the first as they took a 12-8 lead, in part due to six points from Cash, who had a huge game. They kept their advantage in the second, but Seckman was creeping closer as Festus barely won the frame 11-10. The two teams went into their respective locker rooms with Festus clinging to a 23-18 lead.
The Tigers didn’t like how close the game was, so they decided to open it up a bit. Threes from Hayden Bates and Roth, and six more points from Cash led to a 19-point third quarter, but the Jaguars were creeping. They managed 16 and had the momentum going into the fourth. The final quarter was wild as Seckman brought it with 15 points to Festus’ 11 to cut into the lead, but Cash was money at the line and held off a Jaguar comeback. The Tigers had clawed their way to a 53-49 victory.
Cash led the way this time with 20 points on seven buckets and a perfect 6-of-6 performance at the line. Branch was the only other player in double digits with 13 and Bates finished with eight on a basket and a pair of big makes from downtown.
The win improved Festus to 9-3 on the season and they should be riding high heading to St. Clair for their seventh consecutive road game on Monday. They will finally feel the comforts of home next Thursday as they take on the rival Hawks.