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Monday, April 15, 2024

Mansfield Raises Victory Flag High Above Rebels

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Pictured is Drew Elmore going for the stuff

The Mansfield Sr Tigers have had a tough time with what could be called downright bad luck. The Tigers have lost extremely close games, been riddled with injuries, and have faced a slew of tough opponents. But with a four-leaf clover, horseshoe, and rabbit’s foot in their pockets, that all came to an end as Mansfield defeated the JC Westside Rebels for Homecoming on Friday, January 15th.

Mansfield was still short their Giants of the Rim, Bri Sanderson, Zayne Dugan, and Braxton Byers. JC Westside, like Mountainburg in the previous week, took full advantage of that shortfall in the Tigers. The lack of backboard support created frustration for the Tigers who were forced to shoot the ball from the perimeter. JC Westside was very aggressive also as they jumped on the Tigers quickly. The frustration of not being able to drive to the basket got to Mansfield’s Codi Chick, which created early foul trouble for the superstar. That led to three strikes against the Tigers, but this isn’t baseball. It’s Tiger basketball and the Tigers weren’t going to wave a white flag. Not on that night.

Codi Chick

Stepping up to fill the gap was Clint Stovall. The usually silent slayer Stovall, caught the Rebels flat-footed as he sank 20 points in the game. Stovall didn’t score by making photographic layups or sinking mile long 3’s. He stuck with the fundamentals and whipped up all his points from 5 feet away. The prolific JoJo Bailey also stepped up in the game but not with points this time. With Chic out, Bailey took charge and spread the wealth to his teammates. Bailey had an Empire State of Mind as he went at JC like JZ with assists, rebounds, and smooth passes to his teammates for buckets. That being said, Bailey still contributed 3 points in the game. 

The Rebels found a way to stay in the game though keeping the score too close for comfort. Especially on Homecoming night. Mansfield would have nothing of a Homecoming loss though. With Baily and Stovall carrying the team to the halfway point, the Tigers began to come together with a rally against the Rebels charge. Tyler Escalante turned into a Space Jam monster as he made blocked shots, stole the ball, rebounded on defense, and forced JC Westside to make poor passing decisions. Drew Elmore drew up the perfect blueprint to fix the backboard problems of the Tigers. Elmore came off the bench and scored 8 points, 6 of which were offensive rebound points. Ethan Pettus rang up 3 points while also forcing the Rebels into retreat mode with his in your face street ball defensive skills. 

Ethan Pettus

As good as Mansfield was doing, they just couldn’t put away the Rebels. The Rebels rang up five 3 pointers in the 4th quarter proving that they weren’t going anywhere. That’s when Codi Chick came back into the game in the 4th quarter. With JC Westside’s focus now on Stovall, Escalante, Elmore, Bailey, and Pettus, Chick teed off on the Rebels defense. It was almost like the final battle bugle sounded as Chick scored 15 of his 18 points in the 4th quarter of the game. With Chick and the rest of the Tigers on fire, Manfield pulled off a solid Homecoming victory with a 57-49 final over JC Westside.

Head Tiger Coach Keith Stovall said “Huge! Huge! Conference win last Friday night. Mountainburgs’s winning against Acorn last Friday gives everyone in the conference at least one loss as we start the 2nd round of conference play this week. So our goal of a conference championship is not impossible and at the least, we get to improve our seating heading into the district tournament. It has been a long time since we have played with our full roster but hopefully, we get that soon. Then it’s game on. Our rebounding was much improved against JC Westside. Defense was great throughout the game and is what kept us in charge. I’m very proud of these young men’s fight in the face of adversity”

JoJo Bailey

There’s no time to celebrate though as Mansfield leaves the confetti on the floors and heads to Acorn on Tuesday, January 19 for one heck of a Big Cat fight. With or without a full roster, the Sr Mansfield Tigers won’t be backed down by anyone. As Coach Stovall said, “it’s game on!”

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