The Tigers stayed home in Stockton for a non-conference matchup against the Norwood Pirates. Stockton looked to avenge the loss from the last game against a Pirates team that has won its last nine games. Norwood also has outscored opponents by a double-digit margin in the last four games. In Norwoods’ last matchup on Friday, Feb. 5, the Pirates defeated Gainesville (15-7) 63-42.
Norwood jumped out of the gate firing on all cylinders offensively. The Pirates began the game on a 10-0 run before the Tigers’ first basket. Stockton’s first make did not come until the midway point of the first quarter. Norwood’s efforts inside the paint proved to be the focal point of the team’s offensive attack.
Stockton quickly lowered the deficit to single digits in the second quarter. Sophomore Jay Baxter provided a key spark for Stockton offensively as well as defensively in the second quarter. The sophomore had three blocks in the second quarter alone as the Pirates inside attack cooled off credited to Baxter’s play inside. Norwood soon found the rhythm once again as the Pirates pushed the lead back to double digits late in the second.
At halftime, the Pirates trailed 30-20.
For the second half, coach Michael Draper and the Tigers switched up the attack defensively by changing to a full-court press which caused multiple turnovers throughout the third quarter. Midway through the third, the Tigers trailed by as many as 15 points. Norwood’s Garrett Devault provided the effort for the Pirates offense scoring eight of the team’s 15 third quarter points.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Pirates began to go cold offense as the Tigers took advantage of Norwood’s missed opportunities. Senior Tate Wheeler and sophomore Braden Postlewait gave Stockton a needed spark late in the quarter as the two teammates continually attacked the paint which trimmed the lead as the Pirates continued to struggle finding a rhythm.
Headed into the final quarter, the Tigers trailed 45-39.
That’s when the Tigers kicked it into gear.
The two sides exchanged baskets throughout the beginning minutes of the final quarter. The ball pressure of the Tigers continually caused turnovers which in turn led to transition opportunities. Teammates Baxter, Colvin and Wheeler stepped up in crunch time as the three Tigers players combined for 25 of Stockton’s 29 fourth quarter points. Free throws became the edge needed to overcome the Pirates as 15 of the final quarter’s points came from the line.
The Tigers outscored the Pirates 48-19 in the second half alone to capture a 58-59 victory over a highly-touted Norwood team.
Colvin led the Tigers in scoring during Friday’s matchup as the junior ended the game with 20 points, 14 of his points came in the final quarter. Baxter closed the night finishing with 19 points.
“Norwood came into the game 17-4,” coach Draper said. “They’re an awfully good team. They’re so solid and so sound. I was so impressed with our guys. That’s a big for us and I’m so proud of the way they played. Down the stretch the team showed some serious guts and got the thing home.”
One day following the statement victory, the Tigers traveled to Forsyth to compete against the Panthers (12-10) in a conference dual. Stockton looked to defeat a Panthers team which beat the Tigers 51-43 last season.
The Tigers struggled to find a basket in the first half as the Panthers outscored Stockton 34-15 through two quarters. From there, the lead became too large for a Tigers’ comeback as Forsyth went on to win 72-42 over Stockton.
Despite the loss, Colvin put on a double-digit performance scoring 16 points in Saturday’s contest. The junior scored 12 of his points from behind the perimeter. Baxter finished the game in the double-digits as well closing the night with 12 points.
The Tigers (10-10) had been originally scheduled to face Pierce City Wednesday, Feb. 17, but due to extreme weather conditions the game has been canceled with no makeup date.
With the Pierce City game canceled, Stockton is scheduled to play Thursday, Feb. 18, against Lockwood (21-1) in a matchup of the Tigers. Stockton will look to upset a highly-touted Tigers team that has lost to only Golden City this season. The two sides met earlier this season, Dec. 3, where Lockwood narrowly prevailed 44-22 as the Tigers will look to avenge the loss.