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Trent Wright shoots a layup early in the first quarter of Hartselle’s game at Florence. Photo by James Meadows.

Tigers drop a close one on the road at Florence

FLORENCE – With the post-season coming up, Hartselle coach Faron Key doesn’t mind playing a close game this time of year. He wants to win every game but knows that lessons from a close loss in late January can make his team better for their playoff run in February.

That’s why Key can look at Friday night’s 72-69 loss at Florence as a positive.

The Falcons held on for the victory despite a furious comeback by the Tigers. Hartselle, trailing 65-54 with a couple of minutes to go, went on a 14-4 run to cut the Florence lead to one with less than 30 seconds to go in the game. The Falcons hit two free throws to extend the lead to three.

Dee Beckwith, who led Florence with 36 points, had a chance to ice the game with two free throws with 17 seconds remaining but only hit one the give Hartselle a chance. Following the free throws, the Tigers had three good looks from behind the three-point arc but couldn’t get any of them to drop.

Hartselle (24-6) was led by Brody Peebles’ 39 points. He scored 19 in the second half including the final nine of the game for the Tigers. He hit six of Hartselle’s nine three-pointers in the game.

Tad Sivley scored 12 points for the Tigers. Kiah Key added seven points while Trent Wright had six points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Luke Ward scored five points and led the team with six rebounds. Jackson Raley dished out seven assists.

COACH KEY’S THOUGHTS

We needed this type of game, a playoff-type game with a playoff-type team. We made some mistakes early on that put us in a hole that we struggled to get out. I thought that our defense played well, especially in the last couple of minutes when we needed stops.

UP NEXT

Hartselle will play the winner of the 6A Area 14 semi-final game between Cullman & Decatur. That game will be played on Tuesday night at Hartselle High School. The area tournament final will take place Friday at 6 pm.

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