Linville scored 32 points overall as the Rebels won by 12, 65-53. Kasen Stevens and Elisha Rushing each scored 10 points for the Rebels.
Braden Avey, Riley Callahan and Grady Pitcock each scored 10 points for the Tigers, with Jaxon Wilkins adding 9.
It was nearly two minutes into the game before either team scored, and it was Linville with a back cut for an open shot and the first two points of the game. Avey soon went to the line for Timbo and sank two freethrows.
Nikho Christensen hit a trey for Rural Special and Avey countered with a jumper from the baseline. Timbo’s Pitcock drew a charging foul against a Rebel and Callahan later powered in a shot to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead midway through the first quarter.
Rural Special missed a shot but Linville stole the ball and Carlton scored on the other end to put the Rebels back on top. Rural Special attempted a fastbreak off a Tiger turnover but Kaleb Patrick blocked the shot attempt. Pitcock later hit a trey for a 9-7 Timbo lead.
Linville drove inside and was fouled, and he hit one freethrow. He followed a Timbo miss with a jumper, but the lead lasted only until Callahan converted a rebound at the other end. Rushing put the Rebels back in front with a timely three-pointer, but Avey rebounded a miss at the other end to tie the score at 13 with less than 30 seconds left in the period.
Carlton held the ball then drove inside the lane. His shot missed the mark but Daimeon Cooper rebounded and was fouled on the put-back just before the buzzer. He sank both freethrows to make it 15-13, Rebels.
The second quarter saw equal scoring at both baskets with Stevens hitting two treys for Rural Special, and Wilkins and Patrick each hitting two for the Tigers. At the end of the period, the Rebels attempted to pad a four-point lead going into halftime, but the shot missed and Callahan hustled to score a layup for Timbo just before the buzzer to make it 31-29.
Linville scored layups, jump shots, three-pointers and freethrows during the third-period, more than doubling the total of three-pointers from Timbo’s Pitcock and Wilkins, and baskets from Callahan and Avey.
The Tigers were never able to threaten in the fourth quarter.
Read more in the Jan. 31, 2024 issue
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