Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Sophomore Malachi Rogers, right, finds an open teammate to pass the ball to against Duncan.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
FORT THOMAS – Fort Thomas welcomed co-unbeaten region member Duncan to Jerry W. Hancock Gymnasium for Senior and Parent’s Night on Jan. 26 and the Navajo Nation followers for Saint Michael on Jan. 27.
The Apaches (14-3 seeding record, 6-0 region for No. 1) topped both opponents, Duncan by 18, 55-37, and Saint Michael by 40, 75-35; and began the final week of the regular season ranked second of 41 1A teams with a 5.8343 rating on Sunday, Jan. 28.
Fort Thomas fell, 79-64, in Phoenix against the NFL Yet Eagles on Tuesday, Jan. 30. It’s last regular season game is in Patagonia versus the Lobos on Thursday, Feb. 1.
The Eagles (12-2, 6-0 for No. 2) bested Duncan 103-40 in Phoenix on Jan. 27, and wipe their region slate clean at Kearny Ray Friday, Feb. 2.
The Fort will be the site of the regional tourney beginning Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m.
Fort Thomas – 55, Duncan – 37
The Apaches spotted the Wildkats eight points before lighting up their own side of the scoreboard with 2:40 elapsed in the contest on senior Kobe Talgo’s and-1 play.
Senior Iversin Nelson scored 19 seconds later, and 1-2 Talgo free throws nearly seven minutes into the game made it 6-8. Sophomore Latrell Titla’s field goal knotted the score with 47 seconds left in the opening period. The Apaches took the lead for good on sophomore Brad Johnson’s field goal 19 seconds later. Talgo connected on 1-2 free throws with six seconds remaining, giving the Apaches an 11-8 advantage to start the second period.
Duncan matched that deficit twice early in the second period, 10-13 with 1:08 elapsed and 12-15 nine seconds later, but got no closer the rest of the game. The Wildkats trailed by double figures early in the third period and throughout the second half.
Fort Thomas led 22-15 at halftime and 40-23 heading into the final period. The Apaches’ largest advantage was 20, 49-29, with 2:00 remaining to play.
The Apaches totaled 21 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 13-21 free throws compared to 13 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 7-9 free throws by the Wildkats.
Talgo netted a game-high 26 points on 10 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 5-8 free throws. Titla added eight points, senior Evan Stringfellow six, Johnson five, sophomore Malachi Rogers four, and junior Javen Elgo, senior Keondre Henry, sophomore Skylar Kindelay, and senior Iversin Nelson two apiece.
For Duncan, sophomore Cliff Hansen had 14 points on six field goals plus 2-3 free throws and senior Braden Basteen 13 on four field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 2-2 free throws. Sophomore Chris Smith added five points, sophomore Lucas Basteen three, and junior Michael Lennon two.
The Apaches recognized senior team members along with their parents at halftime. Kaitlynn Hinton and Iversin Nelson were crowned sports queen and king, respectively.
Additionally, the first place 7th grade girls and runner-up 8th grade boys teams were recognized.