North Forrest races to win

North Forrest races to win


North Forrest races to win


There is nothing wrong with sympathy for an opponent – until it becomes time to play the game. Then all bets are off.

North Forrest coach Darryl McCoy was sympathetic to the fact that Richton was without its coach, veteran Hugh Thoms, who had heart surgery on Tuesday.

But that didn’t stop his Eagles from putting the pedal to the metal Tuesday night in a Region 8-2A boys basketball game at the Richton High gym, running past the Rebels 56-41.

North Forrest improved to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in the region. Richton dropped to 5-10 and 0-3.

“Coach Thoms is a great coach,” said McCoy. “I talked to him Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but even though I was heartfelt for him, it’s (region) play and we had to win.”

Thoms, who has coached the Richton boys since 1988, underwent open-heart surgery Tuesday morning to repair a leaky valve. He is expected to make a complete recovery, but he will be sidelined indefinitely.

Assistant coach Josh Larson led the Rebels in Thoms’ place, and his first game as the head coach will not be one he’ll remember fondly.

The Eagles jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, never trailed, and were much quicker and faster than the Rebels.

“It was something that came up kind of suddenly,” said Larson. “It’s an opportunity for me as a coach and for this team. It was something we just got thrown into as a health issue, and it is what it is.”

North Forrest converted 8 of 16 shots from the field in the first quarter, while holding the Rebels just 2 of 9, and the Eagles forced Richton into nine turnovers in the first period.

“Coach tells us we always have to run at teams, because we don’t have as much size as anyone else,” said Eagle sophomore Terence Kyser, who scored six of his team-high 10 points in the first quarter.

“We’re about where we want to be at this point in the season, but we can get better.”

Indeed, North Forrest doesn’t have a player on its roster taller than 6-foot-1, so the Eagles will depend heavily on a run-and-gun style.

“The difference between this group and last year’s group is they understand that we don’t have any size,” said McCoy. “Our strength is our defense, so we use our speed to do a lot of pressing, a lot of running, with an uptempo style.”

North Forrest led 16-6 after the first quarter and 27-16 at halftime, but the Rebels opened the second half hitting their first four shots in an 8-2 run that closed the margin to 29-24.

But senior Cameron Lofton stepped out to hit a pair of 3-pointers – the only shots either team made from behind the arc all game – sandwiched around a goal-tending call that he got credit for.

That was all the points he scored in the game, but it sparked a decisive 15-2 spurt that put the game away.

“When Coach McCoy first came here when I was in 10th grade, I couldn’t shoot worth anything,” said Lofton. “He told me to just keep working at it and kept helping me. I feel like the Lord brought him here for a reason.”

Senior Parker Thoms led Richton with 11 points and Kalen Meggs added 10 for the Rebels.

“It’s always in your mind,” said Thoms, the son of the Rebel coach. “But when you come to the gym, you’ve got to change your mindset and be ready to play.”

Game summary

Tuesday at Richton


North Forrest 56, Richton 41

North Forrest












NORTH FORREST (9-3, 2-1 in 8-2A): Cameron Lofton 8, Jamani McWilliams 6, Christian Williamson 4, Bishop Betts 7, Tray Shelton 6, Sean Wilson 5, Alfred Jenkins 8, Terence Kyser 10.

RICHTON (5-10, 0-3 in 8-2A): Parker Thoms 11, Malik Walker 6, Michael Scott 2, Bradley Shaw 8, Kalen Meggs 10, Cameron Ford 4.


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