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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2007
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Decatur runs over Florence for 6th straight
Raiders get hot as 'huge' week approaches

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Decatur boys basketball coach Jamie Lee hopes his Red Raiders are just warming up.

Riding a six game-winning streak after beating Florence 80-46 on Tuesday night and scoring wins over rival Austin on Friday and Class 5A No. 9 John Carroll, Decatur now faces three straight 5A, Area 16 games. The Red Raiders (17-4) are set to face Athens, Muscle Shoals and Russellville in their next three contests.

"I counted last week as a confidence-builder, but this next week is huge," said Lee, whose team is ranked fourth in the state's latest 5A poll.

After an 11-11 tie at the end of the first quarter, Decatur took a 15-11 lead to open the second, but eventually fell behind.

Finally a putback by Jarodiaus Willingham with 5:50 left in the half, followed by a 3-pointer by Rico
Pickett, gave Decatur a 22-16 lead that stuck.

The Red Raiders didn't trail again in the contest, leading 35-26 at halftime and 60-40 after three quarters.

"Obviously, Florence came in with a really good game plan and did what they had to to keep it close early," Lee said. "In the third quarter we just said, 'We're going to throw it inside every time.'

"And you saw what happened — Jarodiaus went nuts."

Willingham led all scorers with 22 points and tied Drei Marthaler for team-high rebounding honors with nine.

Also for Decatur, Rolando McClain finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Pickett had 14 points, eight rebounds and 10
assists. Rishard Tapscott had 10 points and passed out six assists.

"Rico told me he was going to get me the ball, and he got it to me and Rolando," Willingham said. "We just started working the ball inside — just pounding the ball in side like Coach said. And they couldn't stop us."

Lee credited solid inside play and rebounding for an edge in the contest as his Red Raiders outrebounded the Falcons 46-29.

Bradley Rowlett led Florence with team-bests of 15 points and five rebounds.

Decatur's girls and boys will host Athens on Friday.

Florence girls 60, Decatur 51: The Lady Red Raiders kept pace with a team that had beaten them handily 72-30 in the season opener.

Florence led 27-26 at halftime and were up 39-37 after three quarters before taking the game in the fourth.

"I'm disappointed that
we lost the game — you've got to keep your expectations high," Decatur coach Brad Boy said.

"But when you consider that two months ago it was a 42-point loss, then it's quite an accomplishment."

Britney McCloud led Decatur with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals, and Shannon Laughlin pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

For Florence, Stephanie Martin scored 25, and Charnise Mitchell had 15. Both grabbed nine rebounds.

"I think tonight will pay dividends the rest of the season," Boy said.

"We have a benchmark to compare it to and we really see that we've come a long way. I'm pleased with our progress."

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