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Hartselle's Marquez Jones, left, and Manquez Jones attempt to trap Muscle Shoals' Greg Johnson during first-half action in Hartselle on Tuesday night. Muscle Shoals won 56-46.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Hartselle's Marquez Jones, left, and Manquez Jones attempt to trap Muscle Shoals' Greg Johnson during first-half action in Hartselle on Tuesday night. Muscle Shoals won 56-46.

Holiday for Hartselle
No. 2 girls lead early in rout of
Muscle Shoals; boys fall by 10

By Paul Stackhouse

HARTSELLE — The Hartselle High girls basketball team, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, started the new year off in fine fashion, rolling to a 67-36 home victory over Muscle Shoals.

Senior Mary Virginia Reeves led Hartselle (16-3) with a double-double performance Tuesday night.

Reeves finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Lauren Drake had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Heather Speegle added 10 points.

Hartselle dominated from the start as Speegle's 15-foot jumper in the lane with seven seconds remaining in the opening quarter gave the Lady Tigers a 22-3 cushion. That lead expanded to 35-13 at halftime with Hartselle's harassing defense leaving the Lady Trojans with little chance of making a comeback.

When asked if a lopsided victory like this hurts his team in any way, Hartselle coach Greg Adams hesitated before answering.

"It certainly could, but in this case it didn't hurt us," Adams said. "If we had gotten lazy, well, that wouldn't be good. But we didn't slow down or show any bad habits.

"We played hard the whole way, taking care of the ball and playing sound defense. I've said it a lot, but we just want to get better every day. And we got better."

Kathryn Thompson led Muscle Shoals (4-8) with 14 points, while Kayla Hill added 11.

Muscle Shoals boys 56, Hartselle 46: Looking back at Tigers' previous game this season against Muscle Shoals (14-2), losing by 10 points Tuesday night at home shows definite improvement.

The earlier contest ended with the Trojans winning by 35 points.

"We're never happy about losing, but we played hard and I was pleased with that," Hartselle coach Johnny Berry said.

Berry added: "They embarrassed us at their place earlier, but that didn't happen here.

"We even gave ourselves a chance to win the game, but a bad stretch in the fourth quarter did us in. All in all, I thought we did well against a team that I expect to be ranked in the top five in 5A."

Muscle Shoals led 12-11 at the end of the first period and 29-25 at the half.

Hartselle made a run at the Trojans in the third quarter, taking a brief 30-29 lead. But the Tigers' offense couldn't keep up the pace.

Muscle Shoals slowly extended its lead in the third period. Adrian McCord 3-pointer from the corner gave the Trojans a 36-32 lead with 3:48 left in the period, and the Trojans carried a 43-37 advantage into the final quarter.

Victor Stansberry led Hartselle (9-10) in scoring with 11 points, while Ryne Lindsey finishing with 10. Trey Ethridge had 13 points to lead Muscle Shoals (14-2) with Greg Johnson adding 10.

"Anytime you leave Hartselle with a win, that's a good thing," said Trojans coach Dennis Conner, who served a short stint as the eighth-grade basketball coach at Oak Park Middle School before taking the head coaching position at Muscle Shoals eight years ago.

"Hartselle played hard but they struggled a little in the fourth. And we also struggled some in the third. Really, both teams battled, and after we got the lead in the third, I told our players to protect the ball and let's get out of here with a win."

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