LAKELAND, Fla. – The 6-7 Thomas Night Hawks came into this evening’s game with a sound game plan that, when executed, trumped the Fire at the wire. As the final horn sounded, the Night Hawks found themselves victors, 74-70, to issue the Fire their third loss of the season.
Southeastern battled Thomas inside the Furnace in its first game of the New Year. The Fire established a nine-point lead at the 8:11 mark in the first half, which would be the team’s largest of the game.
During the ensuing minutes the Night Hawks offense rattled off a 19-3 run to take a 31-24 lead over the Fire.
At the end of the first half, the Fire headed into the locker room trailing the Night Hawks by one, 31-30. Both teams defensively were able to keep the other under their first half average point total for the season.
Contrary to the defensive heavy first half, the two Sun Conference squads played a high-octane style of basketball to begin the final 20 minutes of action.
JaVoris Cooks and Johnell Ginnie powered the Night Hawks with a pair of 16 point performances. Ginnie, who averaged five rebounds coming into the game, proved to be a timely factor on the offensive glass collecting three of his eight total rebounds on the offensive end.
Ryan Atkins, who has been red hot as of late with three consecutive 30 point games, recorded a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Night Hawks favored the matchup of Cooks on Atkins, however, the playmaker Atkins was still able to get to the basket and score.
One area in which the Night Hawks excelled in was points off of the bench. Rotational assets off of the bench for head coach Brent Crews generated 28 of the teams 74 points. Javon Heastie led the charge for the reserves with 12 points shooting 60% from beyond the arc.
In the midst of a difficult night offensively for the Fire shooting just 38% from the floor, three players ended in double digits. CJ Reese and I.Barsh recorded 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Fire will be back in action on Saturday as they take on Coastal Georgia. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.