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Ninth Grade Academy’s Falcons (1-1) won their home opener Thursday night. The Falcons defeated Franklin County’s Rebels in a nail-biter, 44-42.
The visitors were first to score, and it was tied twice in the first quarter. From that point, the Rebels would not trail again, except when it mattered most.
At the end of one, the Falcons trailed 9-6 and were down 20-11 at the break.
In the third, NGA began chipping away at the deficit. The inside game put the Falcons back into the match-up. With 5:52, Shelton Smith hit NGA’s only three of the night. At the end of the third, the Falcons trailed 30-24.
The Rebels came back in the fourth quarter, up 40-30 with 2:25 remaining in the game.
From that point, NGA turned up the defensive pressure. The results gave the Falcons opportunities at the line. NGA would pick up 12 points from free throws in the period. With 1:10 on the clock, Austin Bennett gave the Falcons their first lead of the night, 41-40 – they would not trail again. In the final minute, Shelton Smith and Ryan Hall made shots from the line to seal the win.
Nick Barnes led for Ninth Grade Academy with 17 points; Shelton Smith, 16; Ryan Hall, 6; Tyler McCown and Austin Bennett, 2; and Eli Eason scored 1.
The Falcons were 11 of 44 from the paint and 1 of 4 from the arch. From the line, NGA was 19 of 37.
Ninth Grade Academy pulled 27 rebounds to 25 for the Rebels led by Barnes with 9 and Smith with 8. The Falcons had 19 turnovers to 8 for Franklin County.
NGA had 16 steals, led by Smith with 9.
For their next action, the Falcons travel to Shelbyville Monday before hosting Giles County on Thursday. Games start at 6 p.m.