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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2006
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Lawrence County's Jasma McDonald, left, is guarded closely by J.O. Johnson's Lazandria Binford in the Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic on Friday in Decatur. Johnson won 61-55 for third place.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Lawrence County's Jasma McDonald, left, is guarded closely by J.O. Johnson's Lazandria Binford in the Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic on Friday in Decatur. Johnson won 61-55 for third place.

Bob Jones dethrones
Hartselle

Class 6A Patriots take Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic

By Paul Stackhouse
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

It was a battle from beginning to end Friday night at Earl Morris Gymnasium.

Playing in the championship round of the Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic, Bob Jones' girls basketball team dethroned 2005 champion Hartselle with a 63-57 victory.

It wasn't until the final 30 seconds of play that the Lady Patriots' fans could quit holding their breath and exhale a sigh of relief.

Hartselle's Lauren Drake fights for a rebound against two Bob Jones defenders in the finals of the Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic in Decatur on Friday night. Bob Jones won 63-57.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Hartselle's Lauren Drake fights for a rebound against two Bob Jones defenders in the finals of the Decatur Orthopaedic Clinic Classic in Decatur on Friday night. Bob Jones won 63-57.
Bob Jones sophomore forward Kellie Cook, the tournament's most valuable player, hit four free throws in a stretch of 16 seconds to secure the win.

"We played toe-to-toe against a 6A team that I expect to compete for a state championship," said Hartselle coach Greg Adams, whose team entered the game ranked No. 2 in Class 5A.

Bob Jones (18-3), ranked fourth in Class 6A, held an 11-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, expanding its advantage to 34-22 at the half.

Trailing 47-41 at the end of the third quarter, Hartselle managed to get as close as five points, 59-54, but it wasn't enough.

"There just wasn't any quit in us tonight," Adams said. "I'm really proud of our effort. We were out-manned and lost, but there is no doubt, this game made us a better basketball team. That's one of our goals, whether in practice or in a game, we want to get better each time."

Adams added: "Something that hurt us was their press defense. We didn't learn how to handle it until the second half. If we handle the press in the first half like we did the second, we wouldn't have been down by 12 at halftime."

China Antoine led Bob Jones with 20 points. Kellie Cook finished with 15 points and Kylie Cook had 13.

Mary Virginia Reeves led Hartselle (15-3) offensively with 16 points. Jessi Smith had 12 points, and Jessica Andrews and Lauren Drake finished with 11 each.

The Lady Tigers were perfect from the free throw line making 14 of 14, while Bob Jones hit 7 of 22.

Decatur High coach and tournament director Brad Boy said the Classic brought out the college coaches and scouts.

"We easily had over 30 colleges represented here in this tournament," Boy said. "Coaches from four states came to watch these kids play. This tournament is such a good venue for the girls to be seen by people who may not normally get to see them play.

"Actually, we put high school girl's basketball players out there for everybody to see. That's what it's all about."

J.O. Johnson 61, Lawrence County 55: J.O. Johnson claimed third place in the tournament with the victory over the fifth-ranked team in Class 4A.

The Lady Jaguars led 27-26 at the half with Lawrence County taking the lead in the third period.

Heading into the final quarter of play, the Lady Red Devils held a 47-43 advantage before Johnson put together an 18-8 run
in the fourth to secure the victory.

Michaela McRae led J.O. Johnson (15-7) in scoring with 17 points. Lazandria Binford had 14 points and Camika Davis finished with 10.

Nakia McDaniel led Lawrence County (15-3) with 21 points with Shea Mason pitching in 12.

Semifinals

Hartselle 61, J.O. Johnson 49: The victory over J.O. Johnson earned the Lady Tigers a spot in the championship game against Bob Jones.

Hartselle (15-2), ranked No. 2 in 5A, led 29-27 at the half and 40-37 at the end of three quarters before the Lady Tigers put together another strong fourth-quarter finish. Hartselle outscored Johnson 21-12 in the final period.

Anna Reeves and Jessica led Hartselle with 14 points each. Drake had a double-double performance with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Drake also had four assists while blocking three of the Lady Jaguars' shots.

Binford led J.O. Johnson (14-7) with 11 points with Quannetta Ford finishing with 10.

Bob Jones 67, Lawrence County 42: Bob Jones (17-3), ranked No. 5 in 6A, moved into the championship game by handing the Lady Red Devils only their second loss of the year.

Jewel Kinlaw led Bob Jones with 10 points.

McDaniel led Lawrence County in scoring with 12 points with Mason finishing with 11. Joanna Cain had a team-high total of seven rebounds.

The Lady Patriots jumped out to a 28-5 lead in the first quarter to take control of the game before cruising to the victory.

Consolation games

Clay-Chalkville 42, Austin 39: In a consolation-bracket game, Seira Dority led Clay-Chalkville (9-8) in scoring with 10 points.

China McDaniel and Shanise Foster led Austin (10-8) in scoring with nine points each.

Clay-Chalkville led 17-16 at the half and 29-25 at the end of the third quarter.

Grissom 65, Decatur 31: Grissom (11-5) led 31-18 at intermission and cruised to the victory.

Allison Cousins led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 23 points with Katie Amos finishing with 13.

Whitney Fletcher led Decatur (1-14) in scoring with nine points.

Grissom outrebounded the Lady Red Raiders 35-19.

Carver-Montgomery 57, Dobyns-Bennett (Tenn.) 42: A day after falling to Hartselle for its first loss of the season, Carver (13-1) beat the team from Tennessee.

Brittney Carter led Carver in scoring with 22 points. Deangela Sword also scored double figures with 15 points.

Jill Childress, Olivia Blair and Sabra Lawson led Dobyns-Bennett (10-6) in scoring with 10 points each.

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