The Sonic Drive-In Player-of-the-Game for Tuesday, December 4 is Xavier Christie of the Forest (Ocala) boys basketball team.
Christie, a senior, scored a game-high 26 points, including 11 in the final period, and was 15-of-18 from the free throw line as Forest held on to win 69-65 at Gainesville in the Wildcats District 4-7A opener.
He was 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in fourth quarter as Forest improved to 4-0 and 1-0 in district play.
Forest outscored Gainesville 18-7 in the second quarter to take a 27-21 lead into the halftime break. Then after Gainesville grabbed a five-point lead halfway through the third period, the Wildcats went on another run and eventually carried a 43-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Forest led by as many as 11 points in the final period before Gainesville cut the deficit to two at 67-65 on a three-pointer by Willie Willams with 3.9 seconds left.
But another senior, Miciah Grant, hit two clutch free throws to ice the game for Forest. Grant added 14 points for the Wildcats while Jake Charkse also chipped in with 14, including 11 points in the first half.
Christie had 11 points in the first half and kept making his free throws in a march to the line in the final minute of the game.
Gainesville, who falls to 1-2 and 1-1 in district play, was led by senior J’len Wilson with 20 points. Wilson was 14-of-16 from the free throw line, including 10-of-12 in the final period.
Sean Childers was the only other Hurricanes player in double figures with 10 points.
Forest is back in action on Friday at another district rival in Lake Weir (Ocala), while Gainesville also has a district matchup on Friday at Vanguard (Ocala).
Every game The Prep Zone will recognize a Player-of-the-Game. The recipient receives a $10 gift certificate courtesy of Sonic Drive-In of Gainesville & Ocala.