Foss High School held a pre-game pep rally Friday.
Now that would seem a bit odd, considering it is early January, and the Falcons are just reaching the end of the first half of the Narrows League 3A boys basketball season – and those types of activities are traditionally reserved for big playoff games.
Well, in their minds a showdown against Wilson was just as important.
And after two seasons of frustrating losses, and watching the Rams take control of the league, eighth-ranked Foss answered in a big way – a thundering 72-54 win at home to snap a four-game skid in the series.
Senior Dezmyn Trent scored a game-high 25 points. Tamariye Nelson, who just moved to the area from Georgia three months ago, added a career-high 22 off the bench for the Falcons.
When asked about holding a pep rally to get ready for the fireworks Friday, a smile took to the face of Foss coach Mike Cocke.
“We had lost some tough heartbreakers to them.” Cocke said. “There were guys in there excited to play them tonight.”
Granted, this is a completely different Wilson squad than the past few years. It is young. Better days are ahead – in upcoming weeks, and certainly in the next few years.
“They have the best young kids in the league,” Cocke said. “Everyone feels that way.”
Which is why the Falcons needed to take care of business Friday. They scored the final six points of the first half to grab a 37-27 lead. Trent scored 15 points in the first 16 minutes.
But back-to-back 3-pointers by Ivy Smith Jr. and Keun Thompson closed that gap in a hurry for Wilson, cutting it to 37-33 just 95 seconds into the third quarter.
Trent answered with a jumper from the free throw line, but the play that seemed to get Foss rolling again came two possessions later when the 6-foot-4 forward drew the defense out, and made a nifty feed to Nelson inside for an easy basket.
And Trent kept going back to Nelson, who scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half.
Nelson scored on three consecutive trips in the fourth quarter to give Foss a 63-47 lead with 5:55 to go – and a much-appreciated triumph over the cross-town rival Rams.