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Thorsby sits atop area standings

The Thorsby Rebels boys basketball squad is one of the hottest teams in the county following a 66-30 area victory over Fayetteville on Friday Jan. 13.

With the win, the Rebels remained undefeated with a record of 4-0 against area opponents and can secure home court for the area tournament with a win over Verbena on the road on Friday Jan. 20.

“We’re trying to get to the point where we are hosting the area tournament,” Fortner said. “That would be big to play it at our place, where everyone feels most comfortable.”

Thorsby’s pressure defense created frustration for Fayetteville from the tip-off and the guards knew just what to do with the ball in their hands following a takeaway.

“We tried to put a little bit of half-court pressure on them to see if we could get some turnovers out of it,” Fortner said. “They did a good job of getting their hands on some balls and getting it ahead. You can’t get much easier than a layup.”

Noah Byrd and Cain Niece ran the break with precision and showed an awareness of where their teammates were on the court during a typical sequence of events in transition.

Christian Fortner of Thorsby absorbs contact on his way to the basket. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

“When you’re in transition is about keeping your head up and always looking to pass the ball,” Niece said. “When we’re able to play off our defense, it is so deflating for the other team.”

According to Byrd, the team is carrying a pretty big chip on its shoulders heading into the final stretch of the season after making a run in the county tournament.

“We’re hot right now,” Byrd said. “Winning is fun and we’re just trying to keep it up as long as we can.”

The reserves were able to play major minutes thanks to the established lead.

“When we scrimmage one another, they [reserves] give the starters all that they want,” Fortner said. “They play hard and they get after it as a group.”

As a result, all 11 players on the Thorsby roster scored a point, including seven who scored at least five points on the night.

“Just about every game this year, every player has played some amount of minutes,” Fortner said. “They know that if they’re on the bench, they better be ready to play.

Christian Fortner led the balanced attack with 11 points, while Jeremiah Bolling grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and Bailey Sellers had three blocked shots.

“We’ve got a great chance to win the area this year,” Niece said. “It hasn’t been done in a while, but it’s right there in front of us.”