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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Howard's Jailen Sexton (2) goes up for a shot against Red Bank's Lekerrick Ellison (20) at Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium on the campus of Red Bank High School on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 in Red Bank, Tenn.

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Howard vs. Red Bank basketball

After a buzzer-beating victory over McCallie on Tuesday, Howard followed up with its worst first quarter of the season Thursday night at District 6-AA rival Red Bank. Despite the two-point start, the Hustlin' Tigers rallied for the lead in the next quarter and used a 9-2 run in the closing minutes of the game for their second marquee win of the week.

The 59-55 contest featured 16 lead changes and four ties, but Howard (9-2, 5-1) kept its No. 2 position in the district behind Tyner.

"We're always talking about weathering the storm," Howard coach James Talley said. "Red Bank almost took off with the game, so I had to do my best to remain calm so they would remain calm. We didn't go to panic mode — we just slowed down and took better shots."

Both teams' pressing defensive style made for a game littered with turnovers and bad possessions. Howard recorded its only basket of the quarter just under the two-minute mark yet trailed the Lions (10-7, 3-3) by only seven heading into the second.

Red Bank's turnovers continued in the second period, but this time Howard was ready to capitalize. An 18-5 run highlighted by easy transition buckets helped the Hustlin' Tigers gain the lead late in the second.

The lead changed 13 more times over the course of the second and third quarters until two Red Bank free throws tied the game at 42 heading into the fourth. Red Bank then was the first to jump in front after three consecutive Lions free throws, but the game-changer for Howard came at the five-minute mark when Dicorious Knight drained a 3-pointer to give Howard the lead and momentum to close the game strong.

"After that start we knew this game would take all four quarters," Talley said. "We were here last year when they jumped out to a 25-point lead on us and we came back to take the lead. Just having them remember that time helped us continue to fight."

Red Bank's Lucas Brown led all scorers with 24 points. Calvin James led Howard with 14, and Knight was right behind with 13.

Contact John Mitchell at sports@timesfreepress.com.

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