Thompson downs Shelby County with aggressive effort

Published 12:46 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – After dropping two games during the Metro Tournament at Homewood last week, the Thompson Warriors were able to bounce back with a win on the final day of the tournament before winning their second game in a row on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at Shelby County to kick off a lengthy road trip.

The Warriors used aggressive drives to the basket, strong rebounding on both ends and sharp shooting from beyond the arc to pull off a 67-32 victory.

The first quarter saw a lot of action from behind the arc as the two teams hit a combined eight 3-pointers, but it was Jack Dorolek of Thompson (12-5) who got hot first.

He hit Thompson’s first three baskets of the game and all three were from beyond the arc as he gave the Warriors a quick 9-4 lead early on.

Nathan Bates, however, had a quick answer for the Wildcats (6-6, 2-0) with five straight points including a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game at 9-9.

Thompson answered that with an 9-0 run behind two 3-pointers from Grant Hopkins as well as a steal and fast break layup from A.J. Bonham to take an 18-9 lead late in the period.

That was followed by traded 3-pointers from Bates and Dorolek to close out the quarter and give the Warriors a 21-12 lead heading to the second period.

Dorolek, who ended the first quarter with 12 points on four 3-pointers, put a rather slow start to the second quarter by both teams to rest when he hit his fifth shot from beyond the arc to kick start the scoring in the second period and he and the Warriors never looked back.

He hit one more shortly after, as did Chris Hopkins to give the Warriors three straight 3-pointers to start the second quarter and six in a row from beyond the arc dating back to the end of the first quarter.

Thompson eventually extended the lead to 32-12 midway through the period, before Larz Balfanz gave the Wildcats their first points of the frame with a layup at the 3:50 mark.

Bates hit a 3-pointer through contact shortly after to give the Wildcats some momentum, but he was forced to the bench with three fouls soon after that, which limited their scoring chances.

Thompson was able to eventually answer with two free throws from Bonham and four straight points from Chris Hopkins to extend the lead to 40-18 at the halftime break.

Coming out of the locker room, Shelby County tried to make the correct adjustments, but Thompson’s aggressiveness was just too much throughout.

The Warriors ended up using great ball movement to eventually find open dribbling lanes to get to the basket, which led to several treips to the free throw line. That combined with two more 3-pointers from Chaney Johnson and Brad Lewis led to 17-12 quarter in favor of Thompson and a 50-30 lead for the Warriors heading to the fourth quarter.

With a running clock in the final quarter thanks to a quick 30-plus point lead early in the period, Thompson was able to coast to a 67-32 victory

The Warriors were led by Dorolek’s 18 points, all of which came in the first half, while Grant Hopkins added 12 points and Bonham added 10 points. Nine different Thompson players scored in the win.

The Wildcats were led by Bates with 14 points in the loss.

Photos available at