West End proves to be too much for Hartselle in B'Ham
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
BRIMINGHAM – Johnny Berry said it best.
"We came up short on the scoreboard, but not in heart or effort," the Hartselle head coach said.
Hartselle did come up short on the scoreboard with a 60-46 loss to West End Friday in the Final Four at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
Unranked Hartselle was able to stay close throughout the entire game, but third-ranked West End proved too strong physically.
Hartselle did lead early, though.
Marlon Chapman, who scored a game-high 20 points, gave Hartselle a five-point lead at 10-5 with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter. West End managed to tie the game at 10-all, but Hartselle's Tyler Reeves hit a three pointer, giving the Tigers a 13-10 lead that would last through the end of the first quarter.
Chapman, who was 6 for 6 from the field in the first half, gave Hartselle a 16-12 lead early in the second quarter, as he hit a layup and was fouled.
West End then rallied for a 12-2 run, taking a 24-18 lead. Hartselle trailed 28-22 at halftime.
With Hartselle trailing 32-26, leading scorer Zac Ward, who did not score in the first half, hit a three pointer to get the Tigers back within three. Jason Crowe's layup pulled Hartselle within one, but another rally, this time an 11-2 stretch, put West End back ahead comfortably.
"Zac's a great player," Berry said. "Today they didn't fall, but he's made a whole lot of them. If we played tomorrow, I would want him to shoot it again."
Hartselle did not quit, though, as Reeves and Ward hit back-to-back three pointers to begin the fourth quarter, cutting West End's lead to 43-39.
At the 6:22 mark, Ward hit two free throws to make the score 45-41, but Hartselle did not hit another field goal for 5:58.
"We knew coming in if we got behind, it would create some problems for us," Berry said. "And it did. "They spread you out and drive the line. We couldn't sit back in our little zone and make them shoot."
Hartselle also had foul trouble.
Gary Speegle, Hartselle's tallest player, fouled out early in the fourth quarter, playing just 12:36 of the game. Ward could not be as aggressive as usual, as he picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter.
Hartselle totaled 19 fouls in the game, which turned into 18 of 24 free throw shooting for West End. Hartselle made 8 of 10 from the charity stripe.
Chapman made all five of his free throw attempts and was 7 of 9 from the field.
"Today is real disappointing, because we played hard," Chapman said. "We left it all on the court."
Reeves ended the day with nine points, while Ward had eight.
Sophomore Keith Rodgers had four points and Speegle added three.
"My hat's off to Hartselle," West End coach Reginald McGary said. "They played hard, and I knew that coming in. They're one of those teams that will fight until it's over. They really didn't give us any breaks."
Hartselle is known for it's "never-give-up" mentality. Berry said at the beginning of the season his team would never quit in any game this season.
"I would take an 0-20 season to be associated with these young men," Berry said. "They're phenomenal young people and phenomenal students. I'm very proud of this ball club."