Predators peaking at the right time

The Fox Creek High School varsity basketball teams both had strong weeks to catapult themselves into playoff positioning.

The boys' team continued to romp through Region 4-A. The Predators (14-6, 9-0 Region 4-A) had a decisive win over North 79-29 last Tuesday. Fox Creek's defense cracked the Eagles, who hung tough in the first quarter by being down by just five points.

Then Predators blew the game open from there, outscoring the Eagles 62-17 in the final three frames. Brandyn Quiller led all scorers with 17 points, and he was trailed by DJ Curry, who had 15. Corrin Cannon also had 13 points in the blowout.

"North is a great group of guys, but I think that right now they're kind of down," Fox Creek head coach Andre Baskett said. "Their guys are pretty young."

On Friday, Fox Creek had a tougher time with Hunter-Kinard-Tyler but still won handily, 65-51. Marques Sumner had 19 points to lead the team, Quiller had 13, Cannon had 12 and Curry had 11.

"H-K-T picked up the pressure on us at the end, and they gained a few points and challenged us a bit," Baskett said.

Baskett also said that while a playoff berth should be in hand, a win at Ridge Spring-Monetta on Tuesday should clinch it.

"RS-M always seems to cause some havoc on us for some reason; they're our little rivalry," he said. "It's always a good game, and they have a couple of good athletes. They're scrappy, but we just need to go in there at their place and play good defense. ... We're just taking things one game at a time and trying to get that perfect region record."

Fox Creek has also scheduled its first home playoff game at Riverview Park Activities Center for Feb. 12.

The Fox Creek girls also picked up two wins in the past week. The Predators (8-9, 7-2) doubled up North 50-25. Stefanie Bloedel had 16 points in the win, while Dominique Moore also had 12. The Predators' defense held North to single digits in all four quarters.

The team then followed up that win with another one over H-K-T 44-34. In that game, Moore led the team with 18 points, while Bloedel had 13.

"Anytime you win is important," Fox Creek head coach Richard Brady said. "We are still just fighting for one of those playoff spots, and we should be right there if we keep playing well."

The return of Moore has been a big boost to the Predators, as she led the team in scoring in just her fourth game back.

"She has been playing regularly for us, and it was good to be playing so well," Brady said. "I really can't complain about any of our girls. They play hard, and that's what I ask them to do each game."

A looming showdown with the Lady Trojans, who are undefeated in Region 4-A, will provide a strong test for the team.

"Last game they jumped out big on us, and we kept hanging in there," Brady said. "We have to continue showing up every night. We look forward to playing RS-M."