Hartselle girls blast Athens to take Area 16 title
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The Lady Tigers' fourth tournament championship is in the books.
Hartselle defeated Athens 65-49 at the Pettey Center Saturday night to win the Area 16 Tournament and pick up one more trophy for the case. Earlier this season, Hartselle won the Homewood Classic, the Decatur River City Classic and the Morgan County basketball tournament.
Hartselle jumped out quickly to a 6-0 lead on two three pointers from Jessica Andrews, and stretched that early advantage to a 35-23 lead at halftime. Athens refused to quit, cutting that lead down to just 41-38 after Keona Shoulders hit two free throws with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
That Eaglette surge seemed to re-energize Hartselle, who scored six straight points to close out the quarter including a lay-up by Lauren Drake at the buzzer.
"I was proud of our girls that when Athens cut it to three points and it looked like things were going bad, that we were able to stretch it back out to nine at the buzzer.
"I thought that was big for us in that game. Shan (Jones) made a beautiful pass to Lauren Drake right at the buzzer and that really set the tone for us going into the fourth quarter."
Drake finished the night with a double-double performance, scoring 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Anna Reeves led the Lady Tigers with 16 points, followed by Jones with 15 and Mary Virginia Reeves with 11.
Jones came close to a double-double night of her own, finishing with nine rebounds.
For Athens, Courtney Medlen led the way with 14 points.
With the win, Hartselle set up a home sub-regional game Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Mortimer Jordan, the runner up in the Area 11 tournament.
Hartselle girls 65
Russellville girls 36
The Lady Tigers never trailed Thursday night in the opening round of the Area 16 tournament. Hartselle led just 10 points at halftime before exploding in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Golden Tigers 26-6 in that quarter.
The Lady Tigers utilized a half-court pressure defense to cause turnovers and lead to easy baskets on offense, particularly in the second quarter where Hartselle went on a 14-0 run late in the quarter.
Drake led Hartselle with 20 points, followed by Jones with 17.
Jordan Dollar had 17 points to lead Russellville, which ended its season with a 6-17 record.