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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2007
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Austin finds life rough on road
Hazel Green hot late,
ends Bears' streak

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

HAZEL GREEN — Not much went right for Austin High on Tuesday.

The Hazel Green announcer called Black Bears coach Demond Garth, "Desmond Garth" and mispronounced Austin guard Travis Cohn as "Travis Cohen."

That and the Black Bears were outscored by 16 points in the final quarter to lose at Hazel Green 82-62.

The loss ended Austin's win streak of two games.

"They kept making shots," Garth said.

"They played extremely hard. Our guys were tired, but I don't want to make any excuses. They made shots, and we missed shots down the stretch."

Playing for the second straight night, the Black Bears (15-11) came out firing and were able to stay with the Trojans (21-6), who featured slick point guard and Vanderbilt signee Keegan Bell.

George Williams picked up where Jay Sears — who had 24 points in the previous night's win over Muscle Shoals — left off, getting baskets in the lane and using his inside game to pound and wear out Hazel Green.

"I said to myself before the game that I was going to play as hard as possible the rest of the season," said Williams, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. "I said that I was going to get ready for next year now."

Despite Williams' play in the post, Sears was in foul trouble for much of the game, forcing Garth to use him sparingly.

He picked up his third foul with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter, but it was his fourth that was the controversial game-changer.

With 15.2 seconds left in the third quarter, after a play where an official deemed that the ball had gone out of bounds off an Austin player under the Black Bears' basket, Sears handed the ball to the official.

The referee did not appear to see the gesture and walked into the ball, apparently thinking that Sears was trying to force it into his face. He called a technical foul on Sears, which also added another personal foul to Sears' total.

At that point, the score was 48-47 in favor of the Trojans.

With Sears on the bench and the Black Bears still in shock from the call, Hazel Green then went on an 11-2 run, effectively putting the game away.

"(The call) brought us down because (the official) gave him that technical foul," Williams said.

"We were already down at that point."

Cohn had 15 for Austin, and Sears finished with 11 points, all in the first half.

Bell and De Hereford led the Trojans with 20 and 17 points respectively.

Austin girls 53, Hazel Green 51: With 7.8 seconds left and the score 53-49, Austin coach Bruce Hamilton screamed to his team, "Don't foul!"

And then the Lady Black Bears went ahead and fouled.

Austin fouled Casey Michaels in the act of shooting a 3-point basket, giving the Lady Trojans one more chance with 1.7 seconds left.

Michaels made her first two free throws then missed the last one intentionally, hoping her team could rebound. But Hazel Green could not gather the missed shot, and Austin left Hazel Green with the victory.

"We didn't need to foul there," Hamilton said. "But we were lucky to have a good break come our way on the rebound."

Shanise Foster led the Lady Black Bears (15-14) with 14 points, and China McDaniel chipped in 12.

McDaniel left the game at the start of the fourth quarter after coming down awkwardly on her knee. She limped off the court under her own power.

Allex Salomonsky had 12 points to pace the Lady Trojans.

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