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Terry Head is one of those larger than life figures in the Public League made vivid by his outsized personality and flamboyance on the bench.
The Foreman coach is also lucky to be anywhere near a basketball court. “I feel blessed just to be here,” he said. Head miraculously suffered no injuries after a horrific car accident on Friday night. Driving out to Rockford to scout an upcoming opponent, Head rolled his car.
One of Head’s assistant coaches posted on his Twitter feed an image of the mangled car. “They had to cut me out,” he said. He was briefly hospitalized to determine if he suffered any injuries. Apart from a knot on his forehead, he walked away clean.
It also shook up his players. “When I heard about, I just talked with my family and I prayed that he’d be okay,” junior guard Marcus Gatlin said.
“We wanted to go out there today and win it for our coach,” he said.
Chastened though intense on the basketball floor, Head was back in his full glory, animated and involved and both frustrated and excited about his team’s prospects. “We’re young, just two seniors, but we’re a good young,” he said.
Asked about the questionable decision-making that nearly allowed a late seven-point lead to vanish in the closing seconds, Head said, “that’s because we have a lot of sophomores and juniors.”
Behind the inspired play of Gatlin, who had a team-best 12 points, six assists and three steals, the undefeated Hornets used a decisive run in the fourth quarter and withstood a furious Uplift rally for the 63-48 victory Tuesday.
Foreman (6-0, 3-0 Red-North) trailed throughout the first half as Uplift led 28-26 at the break. Gatlins scored on consecutive fast-break layups that sparked a 14-9 uprising. With their youth, Foreman could not stand prosperity and allowed the Titans back in.
Guard Augustine Tronou scored eight oh his 11 points in the fourth quarter. His three-pointer on the oppening possession of the final quarter gave the Titans (3-5, 1-1) their final lead at 45-44. Foreman’s Jovanni Harrell (10 points) answered with a tip dunk in traffic, keying a crucial 13-5 Foreman burst. The Hornets’ 6-7 senior Carl White (10 points, 11 rebounds) controlled the paint, scoring on a drive and adding two blocked shots and a key assist to Torry Frazier (10 points).
“I just wanted to go out there and play hard,” White said, “protect the rim and not let them score, because in the first half we gave up too many easy baskets. I also I had to shut down No. 1 [Jerrard Davis] for them. I switched over on him, and that was big,” he said.
Davis scored a game-high 17 points for the Titans. His three-point play and Tronou’s three-pointer sparked an 8-2 run that cut the Hornets’ seven-point advantage to 59-58 with just under a minute to play.
Foreman’s Lionel Williams (10 points) converted two free throws with 28.7 seconds to play. Uplift had a final chance to tie though missed on a three-point attempt. Gatlin put the game with two free throws in the final six seconds.
Emmy Hoard contributed nine points for the Hornets, scoring all of his points on three three-pointers in the second quarter. “This was our coming out game, where everybody got to see how good we’re going to be,” Head said.
With his young players around him, Terry Head was just happy to be there, in body and spirit.