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Hartselle Enquirer

Tiger’s epic comeback falls just short

| Caleb Suggs
| Caleb Suggs

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

One of North Alabama’s oldest and most intense rivalries was renewed Friday December 4th as the Decatur Red Raiders traveled to take on the Hartselle Tigers. The stakes were high and personal in this Morgan County matchup as Hartselle was looking to prove itself and Decatur was looking to avenge its school’s loss to Hartselle in football earlier this season.

In the very early going it looked like Hartselle was here to play as they stayed stride for stride with Red Raiders, but then things would start to really get ugly. Tyrique Purvis would nail a key 3 pointer to help Decatur take their first lead at 7-4, then he would go on to hit 3 more as Decatur quickly took a 20-4 lead over the Tigers. It looked like this game might be over before it ever really started.

However, Hartselle wasn’t ready to lay down jus yet. A Kyle Eddy 3 pointer would seem to get the tigers back in but the Purvis would nail his fifth three pointer of the opening quarter to push the lead back to 24-7. Sensing his team was in dangerous trouble, head coach Faron Key sent in both Tobias Mitchell and Seth Gardner to try to control the inside. Kyle Eddy would hit another clutch 3 pointer as the Tigers went on a 11-7 run to close out the quarter and cut the lead to 27-15.

Mitchell would start the second quarter with a score and foul to cut the lead to 27-18 and get the Tigers on the right path. Hartselle would then turn up its full court press as they continued to chip at a lead that was once 16. Another Kyle Eddy 3 and a breakaway layup would bring to the Tigers to within two down just 38-36. However, Decatur would hit two more three pointers to end the first half with a 44-36 lead.

As the second half began, both teams would start trading shots with each other. Another Eddy 3 would pull the Tigers to within three but then Decatur would tack on a three of its own to make it 51-45. Hartselle would take all the momentum as they took a breakaway steal for a layup at the buzzer to cut the lead to 54-52. Hartselle would follow that up at the beginning of the fourth by tying the game for the first time since the opening minutes. The noise was rising to deafening levels as the crowd rallied behind their Tigers. It looked like Hartselle might just complete an epic comeback. However, it seemed like Hartselle gave everything it had to climb back in the game. Decatur would go on a 10-0 run to retake control and the cruise to an 80-65 victory.

After the game, coach Key had mixed reactions about the game. “We weren’t making plays at the beginning and they scored a lot of points off scramble plays. We gave up 80 points to a team that is not very fast paced and that’s concerning to me.” Key said “However, we told them like it was. They were down 20-4 early and could have easily packed it in and said we didn’t have it tonight but they didn’t and continued to fight and I think that’s a positive we can take form tonight.”

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