For FCAHS, the first three quarters of dominance over Greene County on Thursday were unlike the last—a period where the Aggies went six minutes without a single point. Aggie coach Grayson Timidaiski had hoped for a more comfortable win after two close encounters with the Wildcats in the regular season, but a cold shooting stretch in the fourth quarter made things interesting in their second round district tournament meeting.
Smelling a potential upset, Greene Country trimmed a 22-point third quarter deficit to five with two minutes left in regulation. Timidaiski says his team could’ve easily given up at that exact point. But they didn’t, and as a result they’re now a win away from their first Region 7-4A title in several years.
FCAHS used a 4-0 scoring run down stretch to close out Thursday’s game and collect their 20th win of the season, 55-46. It sets up a showdown with either Poplarville or Lawrence County on Friday for the region title.
“It’s a learning experience,” Timidaiski said. “There’s new pressures added with what’s on the line and younger guys playing. Even the seniors, they’ve never played in games like this.
“But they kept grinding. I’m just glad it’s over, and we’re on top.”
For a solid three quarters, it appeared Timidaiski was gonna get his wish of a comfortable win. The Aggies jumped out to 10-0 first quarter lead and built on that advantage as the game went on. Their largest lead of 22 points came to start the third quarter as Keegan Odom drilled a three-pointer to put FCAHS up 44-22.
After Odom’s bucket, Greene County went on a 24-7 scoring run that pulled them to within five points, 51-46, late in the fourth.
“We called several timeouts to try to get the guys to settle down,” Timidaiski said. “And we’re telling them we don’t have to be one-and-done and we don’t have to force any shots. And we did exactly the opposite of that.”
A lot of that was Greene County.
“They went zone on us, and it kinda disrupted us in the fourth.”
The Aggies got the last laugh, though. A bucket from Ashton Campbell, and made free throws from Campbell and Jaywill Thornton gave them the breathing room they needed in the waning minutes. Campbell and Thornton led FCAHS with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Both, like the rest of their teammates, bought in as freshmen, according to Timidaiski. Now they’re reaping the rewards.
“We just hit the 20-win mark, and we’re not done hopefully,” he said. “That’s an achievement in itself right there. We’re playing for a trophy [on Friday], we’re hosting a playoff game. Everything from here on out is a first for these guys.
“Extremely proud because the sky’s the limit. Who knows, maybe we make a run in the playoffs? That’d be nice, but right at this point right now we feel happy and confident in what we have. It’s up to them at this point.”
As previously mentioned, FCAHS will play either Poplarville or Lawrence County on Friday for the Region 7-4A title. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm on the campus of Poplarville High School. Win or lose, the Aggies will open the Class 4A playoffs at home next week. Their opponent has yet to be determined.