The long dry spell has ended.
After going winless all of last season and the beginning of this one, the Bobcats of Robert F. Munroe secured their first two victories with home wins over Poplar Springs on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and Brookwood on Thursday, Jan. 24.
“We’ve begun playing better as a team,” said Coach Joey Birdsong. “Our team defense has been so much more efficient, and we are better at competing for rebounds. The kids are having fun, playing a lot looser and it is making a difference!”
True enough, the Bobcats have been much more competitive of late. Turnovers have been much lower than in the first half of the season, and the team rebounding has limited the second-chance baskets that have plagued them in their losses.
“We’ve got one more week in the regular season and then the district tournament at FAMU,” said Birdsong. “We want to keep improving and finish as strong as we can.”
RFM 78 – Poplar Springs 58
What started as a see-saw battle between two struggling teams turned into a rout as the Bobcats, leading 44-43 at the end of the third, outscored the visiting Atomics 29 to 15 in the final quarter. Senior Jalyn Lewis led all scorers with 42. Junior Will Harris added 11 and fellow junior Sean Newton scored nine points and collected 12 rebounds.
RFM 44 – Maclay 77
For one half, the Bobcats gave the home-standing Marauders all they wanted. The second half was a different story as RFM lost three players to fouls and Maclay cruised to the easy win. Jalyn Lewis tallied 19 to lead the Bobcats and Bradley Klees added eight points and 14 rebounds.
RFM 43 – Aucilla 46
Leading 43 to 41 with less than a minute to play, the Bobcats seemed destined to upset the rival Warriors, who had defeated them handily earlier in the season. But it was not to be. The Bobcats missed a layup and the Warriors’ Shawn Blue promptly hit a long three to turn the tables.
“This one hurt,” said Birdsong. “We had it and let it slip away. All we can do is learn from it and move forward.”
Jalyn Lewis was the leading scorer with 26 and also collected 11 rebounds. Sean Newton scored eight points and Bradley Klees added nine rebounds.
RFM 47 – John Paul II 64
The Bobcats fell behind early, suffering from some cold shooting and never caught up to the larger squad from JPII. “They just dominated us on the boards,” said Birdsong. “It’s disappointing because we have been so much better in this phase of the game here lately.” JPII took advantage of several second and third-chance baskets to keep the Bobcats at bay. Jalyn Lewis, again, led all scorers with 25 and Sean Newton scored 16 and secured 10 rebounds for the Bobcats.
RFM 37 – Altha 60
Playing without their leading scorer, the visiting Bobcats fell to Altha in an early afternoon contest. The Bobcats were led in scoring by Will Harris with 11 and Casey Mathers with nine.
“We actually played better than the score might indicate,” said Birdsong. “We had a couple of guys step up with Jalyn Lewis gone, and that’s what a team is supposed to do. It’s nice to see our confidence growing.”
RFM 55 – Brookwood 52
Playing their best defensive game of the year, the Bobcats broke a 52-52 tie with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a Jalyn Lewis three-pointer from the top of the key.
“This one was sweet!” said Birdsong. “We’ve come a long way since the early season. Brookwood is a well-coached team, and they beat us the first time we met (57-46). I can’t say enough about our defensive effort tonight. We played loose but intense with a lot of heart!”
The two teams exchanged the lead constantly with neither being able to get more than five points ahead. After Brookwood’s Jacob Sloan hit a shot to tie it with 10 seconds left, the Bobcats inbounded to Lewis who launched what would be the winning shot with 2 seconds remaining. Lewis finished with 30 and Casey Mathers added nine to lead the Bobcat scoring. Max Baroody added eight rebounds.