Fowlers Have Big Night In Win
As region play looms for our local 5A squads next week, they are getting their final tune ups in by playing some of their toughest opponents this week. In what was probably the most-anticipated matchup on the slate, the Byrnes Rebels welcomed the TL Hanna Yellow Jackets, who were top-5 ranked (in 5A) and ranked in the top 10 in the entire state, to Schofield Gymnasium in Duncan on Thursday night.
Things didn’t get off to an ideal start for the home team, as the Yellow Jackets hit on 10 of their first 14 shot attempts in the game’s opening 8 minutes, most of which came from three point range, where they were 5 of 6. Despite falling down early, Byrnes responded well and kept fighting through it, which paid off as they got into a rhythm and jumped ahead 18-13, thanks to a 7-0 run sparked by a Will Fowler three pointer that gave the Rebs their first lead of the night at the 4:36 mark of the frame.
“We knew going into the game that TL Hanna was really good and they showed it tonight – especially scoring the ball. We rely on our defense a lot, but tonight was more of an offensive game and our guys never got down when things weren’t going well for us. Adversity tells you a lot about yourself and especially your team. Our guys kept competing and making plays, which was great to see”, said Byrnes Head Coach Layne Fowler of his team’s maturity in response to the early deficit.
After the Rebels took the lead, TL Hanna stormed back with a 13-4 run over the last 4 minutes of the 1st quarter to take a 26-22 advantage, and from there the game was a back-and-forth affair up until Will Fowler took over.
Fowler, who led the team with a career-high 41 points on the night, once again gave Byrnes the lead with a huge three ball with 2:46 to play in the first half, which he promptly followed with a 7-0 run by himself. He tallied 14 points in the 2nd stanza to propel the Rebels to a 45-41 halftime advantage. Fowler went quiet in the 3rd quarter before exploding once again in the final 8 minutes with 16 points.
Will wasn’t the only Fowler on the floor that made a significant impact in the game. His younger brother, Freshman Point Guard Colt Fowler, was the team’s 2nd leading scorer with 23 points and 2 assists.
“I thought Will and Colt took on an attitude of doing whatever we needed to get the win. Their scoring was off the charts tonight, but I was more impressed with their overall will to win that we had to have tonight to come out on top against a top-5 ranked opponent”, said Layne Fowler of his sons’ performance.
Despite the “Super Fowler Bros” efforts, the Rebels never did run away in this game. TL Hanna continued to hang around and make shots, making for a nailbiter down to the very end. The Jackets briefly reclaimed the lead at the 6:56 mark of the 4th quarter thanks to a layup that banked in off the glass followed by a corner 3 from the left wing, but it did not take long for the Rebs to take control back with a 10-4 run over the final 2 minutes of the ballgame, pulling away for the 85-78 win.
With the win, the Rebels improved to 12-4 on the season with one more tune-up coming Friday night at 7:30, as they will once again take to their home court to face the Mauldin Mavericks.
Then comes region 2-5A play, which coach Fowler feels confident about as far as his team goes. If tonight’s impressive win was any indication, he has great reason to be.
“We love our team going into region play, but we obviously know we have a lot to improve on to be able to have success vs our region, which is the toughest in the state. Our defense and rebounding are 2 areas we have to be more consistent in order to reach our ultimate goals.”
The Rebels will open region action Tuesday night at home against the resurgent Spartanburg Vikings with a tentative 7:30 tipoff.