Tomcats claw past Rebels

By Paul Boggs -

GLOUSTER, Ohio — If only the Rebels had started the way they finished.

Hindered by a pair of slow beginnings to both halves, visiting South Gallia couldn’t quite catch the Trimble Tomcats on Tuesday night —and hence fell 62-47 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division boys basketball bout inside William White Gymnasium in Glouster.

The Rebels trailed 12-6 following the opening quarter, but outscored the Tomcats 18-14 in the second period to trail only 26-24 at halftime.

But Trimble blitzed South Gallia with eight unanswered points to open the second half, and answered a Rebels’ run with another six straight counters — taking the cushion back to 13 points.

As a result of the bookend sprees, the Tomcats doubled up the Rebels 17-9 in the period — and maintained a double-digits advantage the remainder of the way.

The loss left South Gallia at a winless 0-4 — and 0-2 in the TVC-Hocking Division.

The Tomcats raised their record to a perfect 3-0 — both overall and inside the league.

Tyler Slack paced Trimble with 19 points, knocking down nine total field goals.

As part of that 8-0 run in the opening minute-and-a-half of the third quarter, Randy Hixson and Slack sank three-pointers apiece to make it 34-24.

The Rebels then trailed 40-33 — on deuces by Caleb Henry, Josh Henry and Colton Bowers —and a three-point basket by Eli Ellis.

However, Slack scored the final of three consecutive Tomcat layups in a 45-second stretch — and South Gallia would creep no closer.

“That’s the mark of a Howie Caldwell-coached team,” SGHS coach Larry Howell told The Athens Messenger. “We knew going into the third quarter that they were going to raise their energy level, especially on defense. They just started executing better in the second half, and that was the difference. In the first half, Trimble just grinds you and grinds you. Then, in the second half, they take advantage.”

Trimble’s Kamron Curry canned seven field goals and a pair of free throws for 16 points, while Hixson hit three threes and two twos towards 13 markers.

Alex Coffman collected four field goals for eight points, while Max Hooper with two and Ryan Richards with one registered third-quarter buckets.

The Tomcats shot a sizzling 62-percent (28-of-45), and outrebounded South Gallia 24-15.

The Rebels, despite a respectable 44-percent (19-of-43) from the field, rattled in only two of their eight three-point attempts.

Caleb Henry, on seven field goals and 5-of-7 free throws, tied Slack for game-high honors with 19 points.

He also dished out six of the squad’s 14 assists, and had two first-quarter field goals as Austin Day dropped in one.

Ellis added a fourth-period trey towards eight points, as Curtis Haner had three field goals for six.

Austin Stapleton scored two second-stanza field goals —as Bowers bucketed five points, including a free throw.

Josh Henry had the team’s other foul shot.

The Rebels return home, and return to action on Friday night, when they welcome Waterford for another TVC-Hocking tilt.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs