Class 6A Boys: Carl Fauntroy’s 3 comebacks against the Spanish Fort of Scottsboro in the semifinals
Spanish Fort has won four state football championships and has played for two more since the school opened in 2005.
However, the boys’ basketball team never played for a state title.
Carl Fauntroy punched a 3-pointer from the corner with two minutes remaining and the Toros beat Scottsboro 12-2 on the stretch to rally for a 65-61 victory in the Class 6A semifinal on Monday at Bartow Arena in the ‘UAB.
The Toros, who have only made it to the semi-finals once before, will face Mountain Brook or Eufaula for the championship at 11:30 am Wednesday.
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“This is unfamiliar territory for us,” said Fort Spain coach Jimbo Tolbert. “But our kids talked in October about how they wanted to play for a championship. Now we have this chance.
The Toros won despite two starters, Kolby Horace and Logan Pierce, fouled in the fourth quarter and despite a Scottsboro partisan crowd at the UAB.
None of this mattered at the end.
“We talk about it all the time in the locker room,” Tolbert said. “Our message is that you never know when your name will be called, so you have to be in the right frame of mind and be ready to get the job done. Our children don’t know when their name will be called, but they believe their name will be called and they are always ready. “
It looked grim for the Toros at the start of the fourth quarter. BJ Harris hit a pair of free throws to give Scottsboro (25-5) a 59-53 lead with five minutes left. However, the Wildcats only scored two more points the rest of the time, and they only scored two field goals in the fourth quarter.
Fauntroy’s 3 two minutes from time came moments after the foul of Horace, the team’s top scorer. This gave the Toros a 62-59. Scottsboro reduced the margin to 62-61 on two free throws from Tyson Sexton with 1:30 to go. However, the Wildcats missed several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the last minute and Fauntroy and Cameron Keshock hit three of four free throws to seal the victory.
“It was a classic game between two very good teams, two well-matched teams,” said Scottsboro coach Jason Bell. “It was a back-and-forth match. Fans get what they pay for. We’ve had a lot of breaks this season. Tonight, towards the end, it seemed like we couldn’t take a break. We couldn’t score when we needed to score, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Game Star: Fauntroy. The team point guard hit the biggest blow of the game at a time when his team desperately needed someone to step up. He finished with 14 points, four steals and three rebounds.
“It was huge,” Tolbert said of Fauntroy 3. “What people seem to forget about all of our other guys is that Carl was our top scorer a year ago. With the pieces we have, he’s been more focused this year on getting other guys involved. But he knows – and we know – he can score when we need to, and he certainly did tonight.
Silent Heroes: With Pierce struggling throughout, Spanish Fort turned to his bench and Jack Steudle responded. He had six points and three rebounds and also took a dip to the floor in the final 30 seconds to secure the ball for his team.
Statistical sheet: Spanish fort – Horace led the way with 20 points and six rebounds. Keshock had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Colby McAllister had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Scottsboro – Sexton finished with 20 points on 7 of 14 shots. BJ Harris had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jordan Davis also scored 14 and had seven rebounds and two assists. Andrew Bell scored 10.
In numbers: Scottsboro has missed its last eight field goal attempts and failed to score in the 6:21 final of the game. Spanish Fort was 22 of 44 in the field (50 percent), while Scottsboro was 23 of 51 (45 percent). Each team hit seven 3-pointers. Spanish Fort was 14 of 19 from the free throw line. Scottsboro was just 8 of 18. The Toros won the rebound battle 31-27.
Did you know? Spanish Fort also made the 2017 semifinals, losing to Parker 69-59 in overtime.
They said it:
“It was a hell of a game. We knew it would be a 32 minute battle. We got off to a good start and they fought like we thought they would. We crashed two at halftime, but it’s a situation we’ve found ourselves in a number of times. The message was clear. “We are where we want to be. We just need to fix a few things. We did some big baskets on the stretch and then some big kicks for the ice. – Tolbert.
“This is why we are working so hard during the offseason and early October. We spend a lot of time on defense. I just said to our guys, “We have to have a stop to play for a championship.” That was the message, and they delivered it. – Tolbert on what he told his team in the last minute of the game.
“You walk up to the line and you think, ‘I’ve been here before.’ There really isn’t much to do. – Keshock on his two key free throws with 19.1 seconds left.
“When we get back to school they should throw a parade for us,” – Horace of the basketball team playing for the state title on Wednesday.
“I hate that our race ended here, but it was fun. Hats off to the Spanish fort. They made more plays at the end. – Bell.
The next step? Spanish Fort will play either Mountain Brook or Eufaula at 11:30 am Wednesday at UAB.