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Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle senior Isaac Taylor. | Caleb Suggs

Hartselle’s streak ends in area championship

Caleb Suggs

Hartselle Enquirer

The Hartselle Tigers winning streak ended Saturday night at 11 when the Tigers fell to the Austin Black Bears in the class 6A area 15 championship. The 2016-17 season has definitely been a renaissance for the Hartselle basketball program. The Tigers came in already having won their first county championship since 2008 and were playing in their first area finals game since 2011. However, with all the success Hartselle has had this season, Saturday night proved that the Black Bears are still the Tiger’s kryptonite.

The game started out very tight with both teams taking a 16-16 tie into the second quarter. However, a technical foul against Hartselle and back to back three pointers from Austin’s Braxton Holland helped the Black Bears go on a 16-4 run and take a 32-20 lead at halftime. In the second quarter Hartselle tried to fight back into the game just like they had against Columbia, but the Tigers couldn’t starta run as Austin’s talent showed out. The Black Bears finally blew the game open in the fourth and took the win, and the area championship, 65-40. With the loss, Hartselle falls to 18-9 on the season. Eric Stephenson led the Tigers with 19 points and Isaac Taylor was second with 13. Josh Birdsong led the Black Bears with 19.

Despite the loss, Hartselle’s season is not over as the Tiger’s will travel to Muscle Shoals to take on the Trojans in the sub regional round with a regional tournament berth on the line.

Decatur stuns Lady Tigers in area championship

The season of inconsistency continued Friday night for the Hartselle Lady Tigers when the Decatur Lady Red Raiders in the area championship upset them. Hartselle dominated in area play all year long, including their two meetings with Decatur, as the ended the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record in area play. However, the Lady Tigers looked like a completely different team this time around. Decatur jumped on them early and never looked back as they took double digits lead multiple times. Moriah Taylor pulled Hartselle to within four late but it was the closets they got as they lost the game 49-41. Moriah Taylor led the Tigers with 23 while Montana Cowan led Decatur with 18. Hartselle will have to travel to top ranked Hazel Green Monday night.