Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Cullman's Chris Fisher pressures Decatur High's Oneal Wallace in the Red Raiders' sub-regional contest at home Friday night. The Red Raiders advanced to play in the Northwest Regional with a 61-37 win.
Red Raiders roll
Decatur to face West
End Tuesday at regionals
By Brooke Milam
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Decatur High didn’t just complete its run to the Northwest Regional with Friday night’s win over Cullman — the Red Raiders finished in a dead sprint.
Decatur scored a convincing 61-37 sub-regional boys basketball win over the Bearcats in front of a packed Earl Morris Gymnasium.
“I thought we played hard right off the bat,” Decatur coach Jamie Lee said. “We showed a determination to not let them come in here and really have a chance. Our guys had that dominating mentality tonight.”
Decatur (25-5) will advance to face West End-Birmingham on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Wallace State-Hanceville. West End beat Walker 45-36 to advance.
The victory especially meant a lot to 10 Red Raiders seniors, winning the last home game of their high school careers and finishing the season undefeated at home after dropping just one home contest last season.
“This is the last time I was going to be playing on this court,” senior Mark Mason said. “It meant a lot to us. We wanted to protect our home court because we’re undefeated (at home) this year.”
The Red Raiders controlled the game from the opening tipoff and went up 10-0 before Cullman (16-17) got on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter.
“Our coach has been talking to us about jumping out on them at the beginning and keeping up the pace,” Mason said.
“We don’t want to have any close games.”
Decatur was ahead 13-8 after the first quarter and scored the first 14 points of the second to build a 27-8 lead.
The Red Raiders held the Bearcats to four points in the second for a 31-12 advantage at halftime.
Mason scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half. He added two steals in the contest.
“I think Mark obviously showed up tonight not just in his scoring, but his defense, too,” Lee said. “He’s capable of that, and it was a good thing for him and our team.”
As the Red Raiders cruised in the second half, the lead was 44-20 at the end of the third, highlighted by a Jarodiaus Willingham dunk from Rico Pickett.
Willingham added 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Decatur, while Pickett had 11 points, five assists and four steals.
Dylan Smith led Cullman with 14 points and five rebounds, and teammate Ben Waid scored 12 points with seven rebounds.
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