Anthony Wales scored 20 points and Chance Moore came off the bench to contribute 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead the Fern Creek High School boys basketball team, ranked No. 5 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, to a 93-65 victory over host Valley on Friday night. .
Wales and Moore were two of five Tigers who scored in double figures against a Vikings team that was missing two of its starters. Valley sophomore Xavier Johnson was injured earlier this week and senior Eric George didn’t play because of a school-related issue.
Playing on the same court where they won last month’s Louisville Invitational Tournament – and where next month’s regional tournament semifinals and finals will take place – the Tigers (26-2) won their 12th straight game by using the college-sized court to their full advantage. Fern Creek used runs of 9-0 and 7-0 in the first quarter to build a 24-11 lead with 2.2 seconds left.
Valley’s Curt Lewis, who led all scorers with 27 points, finished off the period by making a halfcourt shot, but Fern Creek allowed little else after that.
A Lewis jumper allowed the Vikings (19-6) to get within 35-26 with less than three minutes left in the first half, but the Tigers ended the period on an 11-2 run to extend their lead to 46-28 at halftime.
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Wales said the team wanted to come out and make a statement that the Tigers were the top team in the region, and he felt that the bigger court played into their hands.
“Our team is about spacing,” he said. “So, playing on this big court, we get to space the floor out, and our playmakers get to make plays.”
Tigers coach James Schooler agreed that the 94-foot court works well with the Tigers’ athleticism, but it’s not necessary for Fern Creek to be successful, he said.
“At this point in the season, if we played at Shawnee Park, I’d be fine with that,” he said.
In the third quarter, the Tigers put the game away by making 13 of 16 shots, taking a 75-50 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers led by as much as 88-57 with 3:36 remaining. Valley coach DeJuan Wheat said he came away impressed with the way Fern Creek performed.
“Definitely, they’re the tallest, most athletic team we’ve faced,” Wheat said . “Maybe even in the state.”
Wheat said he expects both Johnson and George back for the last week of the regular season, when they play at Southern on Tuesday and Shawnee on Friday.
Fern Creek finishes the regular season with home games Tuesday against Pleasure Ridge Park and Friday against Moore.
FERN CREEK 93, VALLEY 65
Fern Creek (26-2, 9-0 Sixth Region)
A.J. Thomas 3p, Anthony Wales 20p 6s, Ahmad Price 14p, Dai’Quan NJones 10p 6r, Clint Wickliffe 15p, Kyree Hawkins 2p, Darian Childress 2p, Chance Moore 16p 9r 6a, Tony Rogers 7p 6r, Joran Coleman 1p, Tone Wales 3p.
Valley (19-6, 11-3 Sixth Region)
Ty Walter 8p, Cam Wilson 9p, Ray Evans 10p, Curt Lewis 27p, Tre Anderson 10p, Jerry Davis 1p.