After two losses, Apollo-Ridge gets back on track with section win over Winchester Thurston

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Friday, January 10, 2020 | 10:58 PM


After losing two straight games, the Apollo-Ridge boys basketball team was in need of a win Friday night when it hosted section opponent Winchester Thurston.

Thanks to a 20-point performance from junior Jake Fello, along with 17 apiece from Keighton Reese and Klay Fitzroy, that’s exactly what the Vikings got.

Besides a brief 20-second stint in the first quarter, the Vikings (9-4, 4-2) never trailed and outscored the Bears (6-6, 3-3) in three of the four quarters before cruising to a 66-58 Section 1-2A win.

“Every section (win) is a huge win for us,” Apollo-Ridge coach Greg Fox said. “We felt like we played well enough against Springdale to win, we just didn’t. Then last night, well, we forgot about that already. But it was very nice to get a win tonight and get back into a winning mode.”

Through the first five minutes of the game, the teams went back and forth. A Langston Moses free throw at the 2 minute, 54 second mark, gave the Bears a slim 9-8 lead, but the Vikings took it right back when Reese hit a fast break layup moments later. They led 10-9 and never trailed again.

Reese hit two 3-pointers and made three layups in the first half to pace the Vikings to a nine-point first half lead.

Throughout the second half, the Vikings picked up their efforts defensively, forced a few turnovers and tried to limit Winchester Thurston’s opportunities in the paint. It led to a 13-point third quarter for the Bears, but the Vikings were able to produce enough offense to hold a consistent lead.

After Reese exploded for 12 in the first half, Fello became the spark plug in the second half. He scored five in the third quarter, then added another seven in the fourth quarter to seal out the win.

“Coach told me that no one could guard me out there,” Fello said. “My teammates knew that too, so they just kept giving me the ball and I did what I could do.”

As the Bears started to close in on the Vikings late in the game, Fello flew into the paint and finished off a loose rebound at the rim to put the Vikings ahead, 59-52. From there, they started to build the lead back up before closing out the game down the stretch.

“This feels great for us,” Fello said. “To go into Propel on Tuesday coming off a win, that’s going to be big momentum for us.”

Although the Vikings are coming off a win, Fox said they aren’t necessarily where they want to be at this point in the season. Before their two-game losing streak, the Vikings had won six straight, so Fox is looking forward to working on their consistency as the season carries on.

“We put together three or four minutes of good basketball at a time and then have a little lapse,” Fox said. “When we play the better teams, we have to play consistently. So we’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.”

The Vikings take on Propel Braddock Hills on Tuesday while the Bears will face off with Summit Academy.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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