News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Hazlewood’s Jasmine Patton collects her team’s second place trophy after the Class 1A finals in Birmingham on Friday. McIntosh won 79-67.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Hazlewood's Jasmine Patton collects her team's second place trophy after the Class 1A finals in Birmingham on Friday. McIntosh won 79-67.

Hazlewood takes 2nd - again
Undefeated McIntosh outscores Lady Golden Bears

By Bradley Handwerger · 340-2462

BIRMINGHAM — For the third time in three years, Hazlewood found itself on the wrong end of the score in the Class 1A state championship game.

This time, though, Hazlewood had a shot at coming home with the big blue trophy instead of the smaller red Alabama road map.

The Lady Golden Bears cut a 14-point deficit to two points midway through the fourth quarter, but couldn't totally overcome it.

The end result: McIntosh 79, Hazlewood 67.

"We just couldn't put them away," Hazlewood coach Darin Liles said. "All we needed was one more round and I think we could of knocked them out. Put more time on the clock and I think we could have.

"But you got to do it in the 32 minutes they give you."

Hazlewood (29-7) became only the second team in all classifications to lose three championship games in a row. The Lady Golden Bears lost to McIntosh 105-59 in 2006 and to Spring Garden 82-58 in 2004. Grissom was the other team from 1991-1993.

Nevertheless, Liles said this loss doesn’t feel any worse than the previous two even though in this one, his team had a chance to win.

In fact, that fact made him feel better about the game.

“It feels better because we played better,” Liles said. “I felt like we with two minutes, we quit last year. We showed the true heart today.”

For only the second time this year, McIntosh (26-0) gave up more than 50 points, and only one team finished closer than the 12 points Hazlewood came to the Lady Demons.

“We had one other team that came within nine,” McIntosh head coach Renard Davis said. “We didn’t have to really worry about it going down the stretch like we did today.”

Despite shooting just 30 percent on 26-of-86 shooting, Hazlewood had its chances.

McIntosh took a 53-39 lead with 7:42 to play in the fourth quarter for its largest lead of the game. Then Hazlewood began chipping away.

After trading buckets for two minutes, the Lady Golden Bears made their move, using a 10-0 run to get to within 62-60 with 4:04 to play.

“We felt like if we could get it close in the fourth, we felt like we could win. I felt like we were going to win it,” Liles said.

But McIntosh’s Xavier Barnes putback a missed shot and got fouled doing it end the drought.

Barnes, who finished with a game-high 27 points, hit her free throw for a 65-60 lead, and Hazlewood never really threatened again.

“We had every opportunity to win that game,” Liles said. “We just didn’t finish it for whatever reason.”

McIntosh used its size advantage to push past the Lady Golden Bears, grabbing 30 offensive rebounds and starting fastbreaks on the 37 defensive boards it recorded.

Alexis Broussard was the primary beneficiary for the Demons, scoring 18 points and taking in 22 rebounds.

Also for McIntosh, Kimberly Davis had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Hazlewood countered with speedy guards, though, in the end, they couldn’t make enough baskets.

Jasmine Patton finished with a team-high 20 points for the Lady Golden Bears, Amber Jones added 15 and Josalin Johnson contributed 13.

“Didn’t see hardly anybody in the locker room crying,” Liles said. “I didn’t see no reason to. We just felt like in the end of the game, everyone in the gym knew it, we outplayed them.

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