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Playing in his last regular-season game before a home crowd, Community Christian basketball player Jimmy Forte wanted to make it count.
Forty-six points later, the senior player exited the 97-64 dominant victory doing just about all he could.
“It’s Senior Night and everything and it’s your last chance to do this,” Forte said after adding 10 assists on his night for a double-double. “I just came out aggressive and it felt great.”
The nonconference win was the sixth in a row for the Cyclones (10-15), who had losing streaks of five and six games earlier this season.
Though he largely considers the gym at Peace Church to be his home court, Forte and the other four seniors — Thomas Lane, Michael Piccolo, Dylan Manning and Christian McFarland — took the court at Sallie B. Howard School as the starters on Senior Night.
That first quarter, Forte scored eight of his team’s first 10 points, but the Cyclones trailed Ridgecroft (5-13) by a 17-14 score at the start of the second.
That’s when Forte — along with junior teammate Andrew Gattis — took over and left the Rams behind for good.
Forte had a quiet seven points in the second quarter, while Gattis exploded for 16. It was important that the Cyclones got their explosive night started — as it started to kindle a runaway victory.
Community Christian exited the first half up 12 points with a lead that only continued to grow.
“We knew we had to come out in the second quarter more aggressive because the first quarter, they were sticking with us,” Forte said. “It felt great. We just felt like we didn’t get going yet and we had more to give.”
By game’s end, Gattis and Forte combined for 75 of the team’s 97 points. Piccolo pitched in 10 points and a cast of other contributors filled in the rest of the scoring.
In the third quarter, it was Forte’s turn again to lead the way — shouldering 18 of a game-high 31 points that quarter, extending the lead by 15. Gattis added seven more points, including two more 3-pointers, continuing what was a deadly duo.
“We did good together,” Gattis said. “We’ve been playing good together all season.”
Community Christian entered the fourth quarter up 27 points. After riding the back of those two players, the Cyclones coasted to their fifth-straight game in a row entering the regular-season finale at Winterville Christ Covenant on Tuesday.
Forte, for all his hard work, was driven to make the most of his last chance to play for a Wilson crowd.
“It’s just in my mind to try to kill the whole game,” he explained. “Get whatever they give me on offense.”
Porter 5, Barkely 9, Birdsong 24, Glover 10, Slachta 2, Jernigan 2, Peterson 6, Brown 3, Daly 3.
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN (97)
Forte 46, Gattis 29, Piccolo 10, McFarland 5, Beamon
Score by quarters:
Ridgecroft 17 11 16 20 — 64
CCS 14 26 31 26 — 97