The Festus Tigers are really clicking at present time, having won nine consecutive games after a strong week of play. On Tuesday they squeezed out a 75-72 victory over Farmington, before dropping the hammer on DeSoto 82-53. The offense is in full swing and their season record is up to an incredible 16-3. The Tigers have come a long way since their disappointing exit in the Christmas Tournament.
The week kicked off on Tuesday as the Tigers traveled to Farmington to take on the Knights, and this one was battle from the jump. With both offenses red hot, Festus used eight points from Arhmad Branch and a big three from Hayden Bates to jump out to a 19-13 lead. The second quarter was a bit tamer, but the Tigers still came out on top after a 14-11 effort. Bates came through again with eight points in the frame. Festus led 33-24 as both teams headed to the Locker room.
After the halftime break, the Knights were energized and managed to win the eight-minute battle 16-12 to cut the lead to five. And that set up a truly wild fourth quarter. Both teams scored at least thirty points, which is something you don’t see often in a High School Basketball game.
With the Tigers clinging to a slight lead, the Knights were forced to foul, and because Festus put the ball into the hands of their best player, Branch had a long night at the line. He made 10 of a whopping 13 shots at the charity stripe in the quarter, and was a big reason why the Tigers were able to hold on and win. Eleven points from Logan Cash certainly didn’t hurt either.
Festus held on to win 75-72 despite being outscored 32-30 in the final quarter, and Branch was truly a man possessed in this one. He led all scorers with 31 points, hit nine buckets, a three and went 10-of-14 from the line. Cash used his huge fourth-quarter effort to generate 19 points and Bates’ big first half set him up with 17 on the night.
After they cemented their 15th win, the Tigers were able to come back to the friendly confines to host the DeSoto Dragons on Friday night. It was a heck of a way to start the weekend, as long as you weren’t a Dragons fan. Festus jumped out to a 22-13 lead in the first, and Branch kept his hot hand at the ready. He was responsible for 15 of the Tiger points in the first eight minutes and was on his way to a banner game.
The second quarter was a tighter affair, but Festus still came out on the shiny end of the stick with a 17-15 advantage. That boosted their lead to 11 as they went into the break with a 39-28 lead and a chance to win their ninth consecutive game just two quarters away.
The momentum was surely not slowed after the halftime break, as the Tigers came out with their best quarter of the day in the third. They drained 25 points and held the Dragons to 18 to extend their lead. Branch put up 13 in the frame and Carter Roth hit a pair of big threes. Up 64-46, that set up a pretty uneventful fourth quarter in terms of drama, but Festus kept the offense churning. They managed another 18 in the final eight minutes and stepped on the throat of the Dragons with heavy defensive pressure, allowing just seven points. That effort resulted in an 82-53 victory and the 16th on the season.
Branch went nuts again and put up a season-high 37 points. He hit a pair of threes and 15 buckets to give him a combined total of 68 points in the last two games. Roth hit four threes for a cool dozen points, Bates had 13 of his own and Cash cracked double digits with 10.
It was a complete win by the Tigers, and Head Coach Jason Therrell was proud of the team’s efforts this week. Even if there is still work to be done. He bluntly stated, “Overall a positive week for us with some real room for improvement. I did not think it was our best week defensively, and that will be an area we need to improve on moving forward. We had some nice performances on the offensive end though. Arhmad was really special with 68 points in two games and seven dunks. Hayden Bates and Logan Cash both had really nice weeks also.”
The Tigers will get the opportunity to attempt to perfect their game next Tuesday when they travel to Owensville. Tip off is at 7pm.