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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers Drop OT Thriller to Defending Champs

Homewood survives scare from surging Hartselle

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

To say that the Hartselle basketball program has been down would be a correct assessment. The Tigers haven’t posted a winning season since 2008-09 and haven’t made a trip past Area since 2010-11. However, third year coach Faron Key has definitely turned things around and the Tigers currently having a winning record and have been competitive when playing the top teams in this area, which has been a problem in the past. The Tigers faced their biggest test of the season when they traveled to take on the defending state champion Homewood Patriots.

The Tigers jumped on the Patriots early as Isaac Taylor, Kyle Eddy and Eric Stephenson all had three point shots to make it 14-7. The Tigers kept the lead at 19-12 at the end of the first. Homewood started the second quarter on a run to tie the game at 21-21 and then kept the lead at halftime 29-28. Keondre Swoopes hit a basket just before the buzzer to trim the lead.

Homewood pulled ahead in the third but back-to-back three point shots by Eddy pulled the Tigers within four at the end of the third. The fourth quarter featured a lot of defense as both teams only scored a combined eight points. Homewood held the lead 42-36 with less than three minutes but Stephenson nailed a three point shot to cut the lead to three. Taylor later tied the game by hitting two free throw shots. Homewood had a chance to take the lead but missed their free throw shot, which gave the Tigers the ball with 24 seconds left. A mad scramble forced the Tigers to make a sloppy shot, which was missed and sent the game into overtime.

Homewood started the overtime period on fire with a 5-0 run to make it 47-42. Hartselle fought back and Trace Hill nailed a three pointer to trim the lead to 49-48. Hoemwood later nailed two free throw shots to take a 53-50 lead with 18 seconds left. The Tigers missed the potential game winning shot at the buzzer and Homewood held on to win 53-50.

Hartselle head coach Faron Key knew the magnitude of the game they had played. “We went to win, no other outcome was going to be acceptable. We had chances to put them away and they came back at us like champions always do.” Key said. “We were prepared for the fight though, we didn’t flinch in the face of a tough opponent. We are beginning to have the mindset it takes to be contenders against the state’s best teams.”