Demond Garth wasn’t sure how his young Austin team would react following a tough area overtime loss to Bob Jones on Friday.
Tuesday, in Florence, he wondered no more.
Austin sailed past Florence 69-53 en route to evening its Class 6A, Area 16 at 2-2. The Black Bears are 13-6 overall.
“The thing about the game Friday, that was the first real extremely tough loss where the team thought they had the game won and the other team won it,” Garth said. “The thing about this team, with three seniors we do have who went to the Final Four, you would hope they’d be leaders about that situation. But you never know. Just a learning experience. The guys played well.”
Led by Jay Sears, the Black Bears were ahead by 16 at the half and never looked back. Sears finished with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
“He made some shots from outside,” Garth said. “He rebounded some at times. He finished some plays in transition. He’s still trying to get his legs back. He’s coming off that broken foot. He finished some plays strong tonight. It was very positive.”
One of the big differences in the game was rebounding, where Austin had a 45-29 edge.
“We still need to do a better job no the glass rebounding,” Garth said. “All the guys have to do a better job.”
But now that the Florence game is over, Austin can set its eyes on the big game.
The Black Bears play Decatur on Friday. It would have been easy to overlook Florence with the Red Raiders ahead.
However, that didn’t happen.
“I was kind of worried about that, but I noticed this week, the guys had said nothing about Decatur,” Garth said. “The only thing they talked about was Florence. I didn’t talk about Decatur this week. It was all about Florence.
“You can’t look past Florence. It’s a different environment over there. I made sure not to mention the word Decatur until after Florence. That’s area. That’s the big one we needed first.”
East Lawrence 59, R.A. Hubbard 55: Roy Young’s 12 points as well as Russ Stephenson’s and Kenneth Bolden’s 11 points each helped East Lawrence hold off R.A. Hubbard on Tuesday night.
Quinn McGhee paced Hubbard with 18, and Devons Orr added 10.
East Lawrence will go to Speake on Friday.
Hazlewood 79, Hatton 30: Eleven Golden Bears (10-8) scored, paced by Kerry Jones’ 18 points and Keginald Harris’ 16.
Darrin Hand led Hatton with 10 points.
Brewer 63, West Point 42: Rusty Boyd led Brewer in the win, scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Kohl Sowder added 11 and Rodney Childs scored 10 for the Patriots (9-10).
West Limestone 55, Columbia 51: Zane Campbell had a standout night to pace the Wildcats. He finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots. Cody Herring added 16 points and nine rebounds for West Limestone (10-9).
West Morgan 77, Falkville 60: Micah Randolph poured in 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead West Morgan to the win. Phillip Powell helped Randolph, scoring 19 points and recording 11 rebounds. Also, Grant Harbin had 10 points for the Rebels (13-6).
For Falkville, Heath Alford scored 21 points and Justin Blanchard had 14.
Tanner 66, Clements 61: Tanner came back from a four-point halftime deficit to win this one. Latrius Moseley scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Rattlers (14-4), which also got 15 from Demarcus King and 12 from Rod Byrd.
Cody Arnold led Clements with 20, Sean Bachelor scored 19 and O’Neal Vance had 15.
Vinemont 55, Danville 52: Zach Orr scored 32 points but it wasn’t enough for Danville (1-16) to overcome a three-point halftime deficit.
Zach South led Vinemont with 21 points.
Cornerstone Christian 53, Cahaba Christian 40: Matt Pettit scored 15, pulled down 13 boards, had three assists, and came up with four steals to pace Cornerstone (11-1) to the win. Jason Clark added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Mark Pettit had 10 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Addison 54, Cold Springs 47: Behind Jessy Willingham’s double-double, Addison (1`5-4) knocked off the state’s No. 2 Class 2A team. Willingham scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace the Lady Bulldogs. Kayla Carden added 12 points and six boards.
Georgia Myrex led Cold Springs (15-2)with a game-high 29 points.
Addison travels to Curry on Thursday.
Mount Hope 48, Lynn 38: Mount Hope led this one at halftime by eight, and finished with a 10-point win partly because of Laura Rutherford, who scored 20 points and pulled down 18 boards.
Anna Roberson contributed 15 points and Tamara Robinson added 10 more.
Jennifer Curtis came through for Mount Hope (7-8) with six assists.
The Lady Yellow Jackets go to Covenant Christian on Tuesday.
West Limestone 81, Columbia 37: Natalie Harrison and Morgan Adams each picked up double-doubles as the Lady Wildcats (6-13) blew past Columbia. Harrison had 26 points and 14 rebounds while Adams had 17 points and 14 boards. Elizabeth Dison added 14 points and six assists.
Kim Pinter led Columbia with 14.
West Limestone hosts Clements on Tuesday.
Athens 83, Russellville 58: Sierra Caudle scored a game-high 28 points to go along with 17 rebounds as Athens (15-3) picked up an area win. Keona Shoulders added 17 points and Jenae Strong had 12.
Jordan Dollar led Russellville with 23 points.
Athens next plays at East Limestone on Friday.
Hazlewood 71, Hatton 47: Eleven Lady Golden Bears scored, led by LaChare Reedus’ 16. Amber Jones had 11 and Mallory Warren added 10 for Hazlewood.
For Hatton (10-8), Grace Harrison scored 12 points and pulled down 13 rebounds and Emily Shelton scored 14 points and picked up four steals.
Hatton hosts Falkville on Friday.
West Morgan 60, Falkville 45: Whitley Potter’s 14 points and Kelley Seals’ 13 paced West Morgan in the win. Keleavia Williams added 10 more.
Lauren Estes led Falkville with 14 and Alesia Smith had 11.
West Morgan goes to Tanner on Friday.
Elkmont 53, Athens Bible 41: Elkmont cruised in this one behind Bailee Robinson’s 18 points, Jamie Lack’s 12, and Olivia Pressnell’s 11.
Kirsten McClure led Athens Bible with 12 points and seven steals, while Lindsey McClure scored 12 points.
Athens Bible travels to Hazlewood on Thursday.
R.A. Hubbard 75, East Lawrence 59: Bernisha Harris poured in 25 points, picked up 15 rebounds, and recorded two assists to lead Hubbard (8-9) in the win. Deszare Ricks added 19 points and 10 boards, Chasity Puryear had 16 points five assists and two steals, and Whitney Ashford contributed six points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Paige Hood led East Lawrence with 19 points and LaKendra Wright added 15.
Hubbard hosts Speake on Thursday.
Meek 54, Speake 52: Kylie Black’s 21 points weren’t enough to hold off Meek, which overcame a three point halftime deficit to win.
Also for Speake (5-10), McKenzie Black had 11.
Brewer 71, West Point 47: Courtney Scott scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to pace Brewer to the win. Also for Brewer (11-6), Morgan Crawley had 11 points and Andrea Crawford and Emily Dabbs each scored 10.
Sabrina Blackwood led West Point with 14.
Danville 47, Vinemont 40: Danville outscored Vinemont 29-22 in the second half to take the win.
Alaina Fitzgerald scored 12 points, all in the second half, and pulled down seven rebounds for Danville (13-8), which also got 12 points and nine rebounds from Lauren Simmons.
Danville improved to 5-1 in Class 3A, Area 12 and clinched at least a tie for first.
Tanner 71, Clements 61: Cecily Woods had 36 and Hollye Keenum had 18 in the Lady Rattlers’ 10-point victory over the Lady Colts in Tanner.