Rutherford boys survive test against Fort Walton Beach

Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 19:09 PM.

SPRINGFIELD — Nothing came easy during Rutherford’s 55-49 boys basketball victory over visiting Fort Walton Beach on Saturday.

The Rams scratched out the final seven points of the game to extend their winning streak to 11. They are 22-3 overall while dropping the Vikings to 17-7 and ending their six-game streak.

Neither was there much artistic in 32 minutes of back-and-forth basketball. At least outside of the scoring exhibition put on by the Vikings’ Tyrone Culbreth in the third quarter.

In short, this was a struggle throughout. Just about what Rutherford coach Rhondie Ross envisioned when he scheduled the game as the final tune-up prior to the district tournament starting on Tuesday.

“Exactly, we wanted a good test,” Ross said. “And we didn’t know that they would be without their best player” in 6-foot-10 John Egbunu, forced to sit out for Fort Walton Beach with what Ross said was a back injury.

Rutherford trailed 49-48 when Kiki Williamson made the front end of the bonus to tie the game with 1:13 remaining. Fellow senior Stephen Carr, scoreless to that point, was fouled on a rebound scramble under the Vikings’ basket and made both ends of the 1-and-1 for his only points of the game and 51-49 edge.

Carr’s ensuing steal of Culbreth’s pass with 0:41 showing led to two free throws by sophomore Gabe Steele, who paced Rutherford with 17 points. Steele swished two more free throws when the Vikings were forced to foul after missing from the outside.



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