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Bears overcome miscues

Keith bounced back from a double-digit deficit to topple Francis Marion 72-58 on Friday.

The Bears have heated up since the Christmas break, notching a 5-1 mark since the Dec. 22 Keith Christmas Tournament.

“I told our guys that from this point on, every game is a one-game season,” said Keith coach Tommy Tisdale. “We play each game like our life depends on it.”

Though the Bears overcame a large deficit in the win, they nearly blew an even larger lead before clinching the game during the last run of the night.

Trailing 19-8 early in the second quarter, 3-pointers from Rodney Ellis and Terrance Collins sparked a 12-3 Keith run to cut the deficit to 22-20. A Collins steal and layup tied the game at 22, and an Ellis 3-pointer gave the Bears their first lead since a Forest Pasley layup made it 4-3 Keith with 5:49 left in the first quarter.

“We got down out of the gate early,” said Tisdale. “I told our guys they’d give us their best shot. I told them to keep playing. It’s a long basketball game.”

The Bears did not trail the rest of the way.

They opened the game up with a 9-0 run capped by a Collins 3-pointer to extend the lead to 42-29 in the third quarter. And a 13-2 run capped by a D’wan Lewis 3-point play made it 55-35 with the fourth quarter looming.

However, the Rams weren’t going down without a fight. A Chris Lewis 3-pointer started a 20-5 Francis Marion run that gained steam with a Ken Arrington steal and layup and a Lewis 3-point play. With 1:09 left to play, the Rams made it a 6-point game. But Keith answered with 8-0 run — mostly from the line — to ensure the win.

“You can’t dig a hole like that against that team,” said Francis Marion coach Lee Hollis. “Four Bears finished in double figures. We didn’t play our best tonight. They were the better team.”

Pasley led the Bears with 20 points. Lewis added 16, Gerald Matthews chipped in 13 and Ellis finished with 10.

Kenneth Tabb led the Rams with 18 points, Ladarius Tabb finished with 12 and Lewis contributed 11.