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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2006
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Tanner edges rival Athens in tourney
Rattlers cash in on mistakes

By Ashley Hargrove
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

HARVEST — Turnovers and fouls were a factor for Athens and Tanner on Friday night as both teams battled it out in the annual Sparkman Christmas Tournament.

However, the Rattlers took advantage of the Golden Eagles' mistakes and managed to pull out a 77-73 victory.

"Tanner put a lot of pressure on us in the first half," Athens coach Vernard Hendrix said. "We didn't execute well, and tonight just wasn't our night."

The Rattlers (10-3) jumped to an 18-16 first-quarter lead and went on to lead 39-34 at the half.

"Tanner is a big rivalry game for our guys," Hendrix said.

"A lot of these guys are friends, and it didn't take a whole lot for them to get up and get motivated for the second half."

The Golden Eagles gained momentum during the third period after Zack Brock's three-point shot pulled Athens within six heading into the fourth period.

The Rattlers struck back early in the fourth quarter with an Amos Draper jump shot putting Tanner up by 10. Another three-point shot by Brock late in the fourth would pull Athens to within six.

"I was concerned with fouls," Tanner coach Chris Whitt said. "We can't do that in big games. We're going to have to play a much better game to play with Sparkman."

Larquis Crutcher's three-point shot with 19 seconds left in the game would bring Athens within three, but wouldn't be enough.

"We have five guys who were playing for a state championship in football a couple of weeks ago. It's going to take some time for us to get our guys in shape," Hendrix said.

Crutcher led Athens with 25 points. Justin Pitts contributed with 18 and Brock added 12. Jacquez Pride scored 11 for the Golden Eagles.

Tanner had four players score in double figures. Richard Nasseri led Tanner with 21 points. Latraius Mosley contributed with 18, while Rod Byrd added 16. Demarcus King scored 14 for the Rattlers.

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