Tobbie Taylor’s playing time read “zero” minutes, but the Homewood boys basketball team had no druthers about giving him a spotlight moment.
After a 51-43 win over Paul Bryant in Wednesday’s Class 6A Central Regional finals, the Patriots sent out Taylor to accept their trophy.
Then, they mobbed him.
“He’s our scout-team leader and the inspirational heart of our team,” junior guard Austin Patterson said. “He never gets down, works hard and makes us work hard in practice.”
Taylor, a junior, was a willing sacrifice to the Homewood mob scene after helping the Patriots (28-7) land their first regional title in five years.
Not that it was a surprise.
“This is a special group of guys,” senior Malik Cook Stroupe said. “I’ve been playing varsity a long time, but this is the most skill we’ve had as a team.
“We can hurt people so many different ways.”
On Wednesday, the Patriots did it at the line, hitting 9 of 10 free throws over the final 1:05 to pull away.
Stroupe finished 9-of-11 on free throws and scored 19 points, Patterson was 4-of-5 with 15, and the Patriots were 19-of-25 at the line.
They thank a drill they took from Connecticut where the Patriots quickly shoot free throws for a minute. (Imagine an arcade basketball game.)
Everybody is supposed to make 17.
“We inherited that drill and we do it every day in practice,” coach Tim Shepler said. “We do it several times every practice.”
Kameron Swift had 14 points and David Freeman 10 for Paul Bryant (25-9).