A Comeback for the Ages
Lady Tigers erase 22-point deficit to top Danville in semi finals
As Hartselle star player Moriah Taylor stood after the game, she confidently said, “I knew we would win.” However, during the game, not everyone shared her confidence. It was midway through the third quarter and the Danville Lady Hawks held a 22-point lead over the Hartselle Lady Tigers. Danville outscored the Tigers 15-3 in the closing minutes of the second quarter and looked absolutely dominant as their full court pressure continued to frustrate the Tigers. Still, as they would come to find out, no lead is ever truly safe.
The two squads traded baskets to open the game. Jolee Cole knocked in four points for Danville and Taylor gave Hartselle a quick three pointer. Tara Tuck hit a fade away three pointer, which sparked an 11-2 run to give the Hawks an 18-11 lead. Hartselle closed the distance but Tuck hit another basket to make it 20-16 at the end of the first.
Taylor kept the Tigers in the game in the second with two three point shots and a couple free throws but Danville caught fire late, hitting a 15-3 run that gave them the lead 41-25 at halftime.
Danville continued their onslaught in the early minutes of the fourth quarter as they built a 51-29 lead. However, just like that, all the momentum switched to the other side. Anna Mathis hit two free throws and before the Hawks knew it, Hartselle went on a 22-0 run to tie the game at 51-51 early in the fourth quarter. Taylor accounted for 13 of the 22 points during the run.
Callie Ryan put the Hawks back on top with two free throws, but Hartselle quickly tied it back up. Maggie Anderson later put the Tigers up 60-55 with a three point shot. Danville managed to pull back to within three, but it would be the closest they came as Hartselle went on to take the victory 75-65.
After the game, as everyone in the audience stood amazed of what had just happened, Hartselle head coach Gary Orr stood unfazed. “I’ve been around a long time.” Orr said, “I’ve seen that happen a few times and I’ve been on the wrong end a few times unfortunately.” “I just told the girls at halftime that they needed to settle down and quit arguing with the referees. That’s my job.”
Moriah Taylor led the Tigers with 30 points in the game while Anna Mathis had 23. Jolee Cole led the Hawks with 15 points. Callie Ryan and Tara Tuck backed her up with 14 and 13 points.
With the win, Hartselle advanced to the Morgan County tournament finals to face the Brewer Lady Patriots, with the chance to win their third straight title.