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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2006
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West Morgan boys hold off late Tanner rally

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

TRINITY — When Tanner guard Demarcus King's last-second half-court heave rimmed out, it saved West Morgan forward Phillip Powell some embarrassment.

"If he made it, I would have cried," Powell said after a 59-57 win in a battle of Class 2A powers. "Man, I was so happy when it rimmed out."

Powell finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and West Morgan (6-2) withstood a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Rattlers (7-2) to hold on for the victory.

Micah Randolph led West Morgan with 20 points, while Rod Byrd dropped in 25 for Tanner. Byrd scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter when the Rattlers rallied from a 12-point deficit.

King chipped in 15 points for Tanner.

Entering the final period, the Rattlers trailed 44-32, but Tanner began finding its rhythm from behind the 3-point line.

According to West Morgan coach Ricky Bowling, the Rebels tried to slow the pace down and preached patience on the offense end.

While the Rebels' patience resulted in some buckets, it led to sloppy play and changed the rhythm of the game. It also helped Byrd and King find their shooting strokes.

The Rattlers kept chipping away, but found themselves down by 59-55 with 12 seconds left. Byrd got the ball on the inbounds pass and ran down the court only to see his shot blocked by Powell, who was whistled for a foul on the play.

"If we didn't foul there, the game is over," Bowling said. "There were some mistakes that we made."

Byrd sank both of his free throws to make it 59-57, and the Rattlers fouled Randolph quickly with 5.1 seconds left.

Randolph couldn't convert his free throws, but Tanner took its time taking the ball up the court.

King got the ball just a few feet on the Rattlers' side of the half-court line. He looked and threw up a prayer that went in and out.

King immediately collapsed to the ground as West Morgan celebrated around him.

"We would always like to take the 'W,' " Bowling said. "It does not matter how it happened."

Despite the comeback, West Morgan remained in control for most of the game.

The only time the rebels trailed was with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter when Tanner had a 9-6 lead.

Tanner girls 42, West Morgan 31: Cecily Woods had 18 points and Hollye Keenum dropped in 17 to lead Tanner (6-3).

For West Morgan (0-9), Kelly Seal had nine points, and Lauryn Kilgo had eight.

Tanner appeared in control the whole game, only losing the lead once, at the 7:03 mark of the first quarter.

West Morgan came back several times, cutting the lead to two points in the second quarter and seven at the end of the third.

But Tanner used a six-point spurt at the start of the fourth to pull away from the Lady Rebels.

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