It wasn’t quite business as usual for the Creek Wood Red Hawks on Wednesday morning. A pair of losses in the Rossview tournament had put them in the 11:30am game for seventh place, against familiar foe Montgomery Central. The Red Hawks had just hosted the Indians less than a week before and lost by 13, but with another meeting coming up later in the season and a district showdown the next day with Waverly Central, the two sides agreed to play backups instead of playing a second district-varsity tilt in 6 days.
Central opted for its varsity squad, but leaned almost entirely on reserves and lesser-used backups, while the Red Hawks went with its eight-player junior varsity squad. Three of the eight are sophomores and varsity team members, while the rest are freshmen, but the “Baby Hawks” were able to build a lead and hold off a furious rally to secure a 57-54 win over the Tribe.
Timothy Randolph had 5 points for the Red Hawks in the first quarter while Bryson Payton chipped in 5 of his own, and the Red Hawks held a 17-13 lead after one. Only Lucius Brown, a sixth-man for the varsity Indians, had more than one basket in the first for Central, a three and a basket in a 5 point outing of his own. Creek Wood followed up a 17-point first with a 17-point second, hammering the Indians 17-9 for a 34-22 lead at the break. All 8 Red Hawks played and scored in the first half, as Michael Harp and Richard Payton had 4 points in the second and Drew “Scooter” Berry had a three in each of the first two quarters. Isaac Rankhorn, who drew the start Thursday against Creek Wood, dropped in 6 points for the Tribe in the second quarter giving him a game-best 8 at the break.
The Indians made a run in the third as Rankhorn and Tobias Wheat each hit threes, but Andre Darden had 5 points including a basket-and-one as Creek Wood turned away Montgomery Central 12-11. Up 46-33 with just 8 minutes left, the Red Hawks looked poised to put the game on ice, but Central had other plans. A 17-5 run became a 19-7 run, and ultimately the Indians cut the lead to a single point twice. Randolph came to the rescue for Creek Wood, however, going 6-for-6 on free throws in the fourth. Rankhorn had 6 points in the fourth, Wheat 5 including a three, and both Brown and Jamie Whitehead 4, but a 21-11 Central fourth was not enough, and Creek Wood held on for a 57-54 win to secure seventh place in the tournament.
Randolph, the sophomore varsity reserve and JV starter still rounding into form after a football injury, had a team-high 13 points for Creek Wood. Darden came off the JV bench for 11 points, while Bryson Payton had 9 and Richard Payton 7. Rankhorn had a game-high 17 for the Indians, while Brown, Wheat, and Whitehead each had 11.
Creek Wood finished the pre-Christmas slate with a district doubleheader at home Thursday night against the Waverly Central Tigers and Tigerettes. Tipoff of the girls’ game is set for 6:00pm with the boys’ game to follow. The game will be heard on AM, FM, and the entire RFC Sports Network, with a 5:45pm pregame show start.