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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers prove too much to handle

| Caleb Suggs
| Caleb Suggs

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

In what felt like a “main event of the evening” of some stellar fight card, the energy was through the roof as the varsity boy’s game began between bitter rivals the Hartselle Tigers and the Brewer Patriots.

Much like a prized fight, both teams went back and forth trading blows in the early going. Brewer would take advantage early of some Hartselle turnovers to take an early 14-8 lead. John Jay Graves was proving key for the Patriots early on as he led some very physical inside the paint play. However, Hartselle would manage to cut the lead to 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Brewer would come out even hotter in the second as they quickly grabbed a 25-16 lead. Hartselle was in dire need of help as multiple turnovers kept them from gaining rhythm on offense, and they had no answer for the Patriots inside on defense. In desperate need of some big play, Hayden Bradford answered the call by coming up with a huge block and then getting a breakaway score to ignite the Tigers. Then, knowing he needed some answer inside defensively, head coach Faron Key decided to put both Tobias Mitchell and Seth Gardner on the court at the same time and it worked great. Mitchell and Gardner worked together grabbing rebounds and controlling the inside nicely. One of the best plays of the night would come when Jake Tiffin would make a fantastic midair interception of a long pass to get the ball to Isaac Taylor who went on to tie the game at 29-29. Kyle Eddy would finish the half off with a huge 3 pointer, and Hartselle would ride on a wave of offensive momentum to a 32-29 halftime lead.

The third quarter would become a game of get the ball to Hayden Bradford. Jake Tiffin and Isaac Taylor would work hard finding ways to get Bradford open and get him the ball. Bradford would return the favor by racking up 18 total points in the third quarter alone. Everything was working perfectly for the Tigers in the third quarter on both sides of the ball, as everything Brewer tried Hartselle would have an answer for. Hartselle would close out the third quarter by going 25-10 over the Patriots to make the game 55-39.

However, Brewer wouldn’t lie down just yet. It looked like every single bit of momentum was on Hartselle’s side but the Patriots were quietly making olays to keep them in it. Then, Dakota Bennett would score on a monster dunk to pull the Patriots to within 10 with a little over a minute to play. Colton Pritchett would almost bring the Patriots back by hitting 3 fantastic 3 pointers in the final minute of the game but it would be too little too late. Hartselle would seal the deal and finish the game with the 85-81 win.

After the game, coach Key was very pleased with his team’s effort. “We didn’t start off well but the way they stayed in their was great” Key said “I knew Hayden would have a break out game because he had 3 great practices in a row, but the way Tiffin and Isaac Taylor were finding ways to get him the ball were just as key.” Hartselle still has a ways to go, but there were definitely glimpses of just how good they are capable of being.

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