Chris Brooks/For the Times Red Boiling Springs junior forward Dalton Thompson looks for a passing option during Friday evening’s contest.

Chris Brooks/For the Times

Red Boiling Springs junior forward Dalton Thompson looks for a passing option during Friday evening’s contest.

RED BOILING SPRINGS - In their first game against Trousdale County, the Red Boiling Springs High boys basketball team ran into plenty of resistance.

Friday evening's rematch allowed the Bulldogs to provide more than enough resistance of their own.

RBS never trailed in the contest, pulling away in the second half for a 67-52 victory to split the regular-season series with the Yellow Jackets.

Trousdale County won the first meeting, 67-37, in Hartsville on Jan. 4. Friday's victory - the fifth consecutive win for RBS - puts the Bulldogs (20-7 overall, 7-5 in District 6-A) in a position to earn the No. 3 seed in next week's district tournament with a win in one of their final two games.

"I want to be playing well in late January and February," RBS head coach Michael Owens said. "You don't want to peak in November."

Junior center Dalton Marsh led the Bulldogs with 23 points and 13 rebounds despite consistent double-teaming from the Yellow Jackets. However, he had help from the outside early on. RBS jumped out to a 6-0 lead on 3-pointers from junior guards Mason Hix and Matthew Murphy in the first two minutes of the contest.

"That definitely swung the momentum for us," Marsh said. "You know with my guys coming in hitting threes, it just makes everything better."

Trousdale County tied the game at 8-8 with 3:08 left in the first, and that was the last time RBS did not have the lead in the contest.

It was a stark contrast to the first meeting, when numerous attempts at entry passes to Marsh were either deflected or intercepted by Yellow Jacket defenders. This time, the Bulldog guards were largely on-target getting the ball in the paint.

"All my guards just handled the ball really well," Marsh said. "Of course, we had a couple of turnovers, but Trousdale's got a lot of athletic guys too. Some of those passes get in, and some don't. That's just how the game goes."

Owens added, "They played us a little different tonight. The first time they played a 2-3 zone and stayed packed in the paint. They got out and guarded us a little more and tried to put pressure on us and play up-tempo, which freed it up a little more (for Marsh). So, you know any time somebody goes out like that, it makes the entry pass a little easier."

The Yellow Jackets did not have junior Kobe Ford available for disciplinary reasons, taking a good chunk of offense out of their lineup. Ford provided 22 points in the first meeting.

Trousdale County also didn't get much outside production, only connecting on two 3-pointers Friday. The Yellow Jackets made six threes in the first meeting.

"(Trousdale) didn't make some shots, and we converted at the free-throw line and got on the boards," Owens said. "We did a good job rebounding. We had 33 total rebounds tonight and 17 team assists, so I thought it was pretty much a complete effort from everybody."

Marsh added, "We just did the fundamentals really well. I think the first quarter, first half or so, we had some silly mistakes, but we came back in the second half and had a really sound fundamental game."

After the Yellow Jackets tied the game in the first quarter, RBS ripped off a 14-4 run to take a 22-12 lead. Marsh's bucket capped that run with 5:22 left in the first half, and the Bulldogs eventually took a 33-25 lead into halftime.

In a role reversal from the first meeting, the Bulldogs opened the third quarter on a tear, scoring 13 of the first 15 points, jumping out to a 46-27 lead in the process. Trousdale County took control of the first meeting with a 24-5 run in the third quarter, but Owens said his team learned from that experience.

"Well, I thought we did a good job guarding and getting back in transition, getting two (defenders) back on missed shots and any turnover we made - sprinting back and not letting them get layups and get going," Owens said. "I thought that was a big difference from the first game."

Senior point guard Hunter Kirk and junior guard James Sampson also reached double figures for the Bulldogs, scoring 13 and 11 points, respectively. Murphy added eight points, while Hix chipped in six. Sophomore Omarion Williams contributed five points, and junior Dalton Thompson finished with one.

Hix also added seven assists in the contest, while Williams pulled in 12 rebounds.

Senior Keyvont Baines, who had 25 points in the first meeting, scored 14 in the rematch for Trousdale County. Sophomore Cameron Rankins led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points, while senior Houston Stafford finished with 10.

The victory also ensured that the Bulldogs will also open the District 6-A tournament at home.

"It's awesome, now that we've got a chance to clinch third, knowing for sure we've clinched fourth," Marsh said.

Owens added, "We were sitting here 3-5 (record-wise) two weeks ago. We had a do-or-die week with Clarkrange and Jackson (County), and we got those two. We called this week moving-up week. We could have very easily lost a couple and be down flipping coins for sixth, seventh or eighth (seed). But we went out and took control of our own destiny and got wins to just move ourselves up."

The RBS program reached the 20-win mark for the sixth time in the program's history. It's only the second time in school history that the boys and girls programs have won 20 games in the same season, with the other time coming during the 2009-10 campaign.

The Bulldogs conclude the regular season this week with district games at Clay County on Tuesday and at home against Pickett County on Thursday.

Red Boiling Springs boys 67, Trousdale County 52

TROUSDALE COUNTY (52) – Cameron Rankins 15, Keyvont Baines 14, Houston Stafford 10, Hayden Clark 4, Landon Carver 3, Tarvaris Claiborne 2, Andrew Ford 2, Trent Pharris 2. 

RBS (67) – Dalton Marsh 23, Hunter Kirk 13, James Sampson 11, Matthew Murphy 8, Mason Hix 6, Omarion Williams 5, Dalton Thompson 1.

Half: 33-25, RBS. Three-point goals: Trousdale County 2 (Baines 1, Rankins 1), RBS 5 (Hix 2, Murphy 2, Kirk 1). Records: Trousdale County 11-15 overall, 6-7 in District 6-A; RBS 20-7, 7-5.