Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Hartselle's Emiy Roden, left, battles Decatur High's Victoria Wynn for the ball during second-half action of Hartselle's 55-28 victory Tuesday night.
Lee's Red Raiders earn 10th victory
Drake leads Hartselle girls in win over Decatur
By Paul Stackhouse
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HARTSELLE — Decatur High boys basketball coach Jamie Lee had a look of relief on his face following the Red Raiders' 55-45 victory at Hartselle on Tuesday night.
The win marked the end of a stretch in which Decatur played five games in 16 days, but the Red Raiders now get a week of vacation before playing again in The Huntsville Times Classic on Dec. 26.
Lee said his team will use the time wisely.
"Now we can get back to the gym and work on some things," Lee said. "We need some practice time to get better. If we want to win a championship, we've got to get better. Tonight, we just were not focused. You could see that we were not mentally into the game.
"On the other side, we did fight through some adversity when we had to. Hartselle did a great job of controlling the tempo and Coach (Johnny) Berry put his guys into a situation where they could win."
In the girls contest, Hartselle beat Decatur 55-28, meaning the two schools split the night of varsity action.
In the boys game, the Red Raiders (10-2) jumped out to a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter before their offensive game slowed dramatically. Decatur managed to score four points in the second period while Hartselle (8-7) finished with seven.
"We talked about turning up the pressure at halftime," said Rico Pickett, who led the Red Raiders in scoring with 22 points. "We played a whole lot better in the third quarter. We tried to turn the defense all the way up but we didn't get to where we wanted. It was ugly, but it was a good win."
Pickett was referring to Decatur's 22-9 run over the Tigers in the third quarter, giving Decatur a 43-24 cushion going into the final period.
Alex Brown's layup for Hartselle cut the Decatur lead to six at 27-21 midway through the third quarter.
With two minutes left in the period, Pickett brought Decatur's offense back to life. Pickett had a slam dunk and a layup before Jarodiaus Willingham's slam which was
followed by two made free throws by G Redus to give the Red Raiders the 19-point advantage.
"Rico is sick, but he still put us on his shoulders tonight," Lee said. "That's a big credit to him."
The Tigers outscored Decatur 22-9 in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough.
"I thought we battled and played real hard," Hartselle coach Johnny Berry said. "I saw something positive for us after the game in the locker room. Our guys were saying close just isn't good enough.
"We grew up some tonight against a team that I feel is in the top two or three in the state. For one thing, we struggled with rebounding all season. It has been a weakness for us. But, it was big for us because we were rebounding right there with them."
Also scoring double figures for Decatur were Redus with 12 points and Willingham with 10.
Jackson Holmes led Hartselle in scoring, with 12 points while Victory Stansberry had 10.
Hartselle is scheduled to play next in the first Big Blue Classic at Brewer on Dec. 27. The Tigers will face East Limestone at 4:30.
In the junior varsity boys game, Decatur won 63-58 in double overtime over Hartselle.
Hartselle girls 55, Decatur 28: Lauren Drake led Hartselle (12-2) in scoring with 15 points. Jessi Smith and Mary Virginia Reeves had 12 points each.
Britney McCloud led Decatur (1-10) in scoring with eight points.
The Lady Tigers led 28-14 at the half before turning up their offense. Hartselle scored 18 points in the third quarter while Decatur produced only three points.
"We played well defensively but offensively we did not," Hartselle coach Greg Adams said. "We get out of school (today), and I think that had us out of focus some."
Everybody on the Hartselle roster played at least seven minutes Tuesday.
Also, Drake had six rebounds and four steals, contributing to Hartselle's 18. Anna Reeves also had four steals.
Jessica Andrews had six points, five assists and two steals, and Mary Virginia Reeves pulled down five rebounds.
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