Our Sonic Drive-In-Player-of-the-Game for Friday, January 19 is T.J. Martin of the Forest (Ocala) boys’ basketball team.
In a game that started slow, Martin and the Wildcats finished strong, as Forest knocked off rival Vanguard (Ocala), 54-46, in front of an overflow crowd at Vanguard. The win snapped Vanguard’s 11-game winning streak against the ‘Cats.
Adding to the significance of the victory was that it was a Class 7A-District 4 contest. With the win, the Wildcats improved to 13-6 overall and 3-4 in league play. Vanguard dropped to 10-8 & 3-3.
Martin didn’t score in the opening quarter, nor did half of the game’s starters. Forest and Vanguard were tied 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
But that’s when Martin got going, scoring eight of the Wildcats’ 14 2nd-quarter points, including two shots behind the arc, as Forest built a 20-15 lead at the half.
The game was tied at 32 apiece after three. But in the decisive fourth, Martin would convert his 2nd and-one of the half, finishing the quarter 3-for-3 from the free throw line. He finished with a team-high 16 points.
Junior Xavier Christie added 15 for the Wildcats and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Senior Tucker Varnadoe came off the bench and hit three 3’s to finish with nine.
Forest will travel to Gainesville on Tuesday, while Vanguard will travel to Buchholz (Gainesville) tonight.
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.