BURBANK | When one digs a hole, sometimes it can't be filled back up.
The Thornton Fractional South boys basketball team dug themselves a 16-point hole going into the fourth quarter of their game with host Reavis Friday night, only to furiously battle back before a pair of last-second three-point tries fell short, just like the comeback in the Rebels' 50-47 South Suburban Conference defeat.
It was the first conference loss of the season for the Rebels (3-4, 2-1 SSC), and the first conference win of the season for the Rams (6-2, 1-2).
"If we would have come out and performed like we should have in the first half, it might have been a game," Rebels coach John O'Rourke said. "We sat back on our heels and allowed Reavis to run their offense, and when they run their offense, they are a tough team to defend."
Rebels guard Kenny Doss scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, as his offensive leadership and a stingy team defense turned what appeared to be a blowout into a game whose outcome was in question.
A three-point play by Doss with 35 seconds remaining in the game cut the Rams lead to 49-47. The Rams then committed a quick turnover, but made amends when Nick Bal stole the ball with 24 seconds left and knocked it off Doss to give the Rams the ball in their scoring end of the court.
Eduard Puha converted one of two free throws for the Rams on the subsequent possession, which gave the Rebels the ball with 11 seconds to play. After a timeout, a play that started with a Doss inbound pass ended with failed perimeter attempts by Doss and rebounder Ka-Ton Mays.
The fourth quarter's frantic pace was in stark contrast to the first half, during which only 30 points were scored. The Rebels managed just nine of those points, with Doss scoring both of the Rebels' first-half field goals.
The Rebels quickly ended up putting the Rams in the bonus in the third quarter. The Rams made 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to go along with a lone field goal.
Bal finished with a team-high 17 points for the Rams. Carsie Barnes scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Rebels.