The last time Purvis and Forrest County met, senior guard Ashton Campbell dropped 50 points on their way to an 84-78 victory over the Tornadoes. Tonight, Purvis returned the punch with a haymaker of their own, holding Campbell scoreless on the night on their way to a gutty, 52-46 victory over the Aggies on Senior Night.
“I can hardly talk because my voice is gone. That game, that is what basketball is all about. When you have two great rivals coming together, we wanted to come out with all the focus and energy we could muster. That’s been our motto since the last time we played [Tuesday night], it was to focus. We wanted to come out and take it to them and see what would happen. I’m at a loss for words with what happened,” exclaimed Purvis head coach Eric Cooper.
Purvis controlled much of the first period, holding a six-point lead for much of the period after taking the lead early. Three Bryson Rowell field goals helped the Tornadoes maintain the lead as the period ended with Purvis leading 15-9.
Forrest County closed within one during the second period as Ethan Watts hit a three-pointer to close in 17-16, however, a Trell Camp and-one play stretched the lead back out for the Tornadoes.
The Tornadoes took their biggest lead of the game in the third period as Rowell continued to score, while junior Gabe Young also added buckets to extend the Tornado lead to 35-21 at one midway through the quarter. Sophomore Aggie Avery Sledge helped Forrest County close the gap near the end of the period as he added four points along with a Watts three to end the period. Still, Forrest County trailed 41-28 as they headed to the fourth.
In the fourth period, the Aggies caught fire, outscoring Purvis 18-12 in the final period behind the shooting of Sledge who had 10 points in the period. Forrest County drew within three in the closing minutes, but clutch free throws from Rowell sealed the contest for Purvis.
“The three-point shot came up big for us tonight. I thought late in the game we took some shots we didn’t need to take in the situation we were in, but early on when we got those threes it was big and it spurred us on. That 10 point lead to end the half gave us enough cushion to end up with a four-point win,” said Cooper.
Cooper also complimented Campbell, who did not show up on the score-sheet but was a presence in the minds of the Tornadoes.
“It was incredible what we were able to do with Ashton. He is an incredible kid and an awesome ballplayer. I look at him and see greatness all over him. My guys had a challenge. I knew we had to hold him to 10 points or less to have a chance. Tonight, we held him to less and it allowed us to win.”
Forrest County Agricultural falls to 16-4 overall and suffers their first district loss of the season to go to 7-1 in the district. They will host Sumrall next Tuesday night. Purvis moves to 20-4 overall and 6-2 in district play. They play host to Stone next Tuesday night.